Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar cosponsored legislation yesterday that would advance key infrastructure projects on the Mississippi River to help ensure barge travel that Minnesota businesses rely on is not disrupted. The Reinvesting in Vital Economic Rivers and Waterways (RIVER) Act of 2013, introduced by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA), would help move forward major construction projects on the Inland Waterways System, including much-needed rehabilitation of the locks and dams along the Mississippi River.

“Our waterways play a vital role in Minnesota’s economy,” said Klobuchar.“Investing in our waterways, including rehabilitating the locks and dams along the Mississippi River, is critical to ensuring that barge traffic can continue so businesses can get their goods to market.”

“America's inland waterways are a critical component of our nation's transportation system that Americans rely upon. Reinvestment in this infrastructure is critical to America's future,”said Rick Calhoun, President of Cargo Carriers, a division of Cargill, Inc. “We at Cargill thank Senator Klobuchar for cosponsoring this critical legislation and for her steadfast leadership on such an important issue.”

The RIVER Act will help make sure the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) remains viable and can continue to support projects to speed up rehabilitation of the locks and dams on the Inland Waterways System, which includes the Mississippi River. The bill increases fuel fees paid by users and would take steps to ensure that projects are completed in a timely fashion and do not exceed cost estimates. The bill is supported by the Waterways Council, Inc., which is a consortium of organizations that ship or provide shipping services on the inland waterways.

Klobuchar has long supported efforts to protect Minnesota’s water infrastructure and make sure businesses can ship their goods efficiently. Last Congress she led the Rebuild America Jobs Act which would have provided additional resources for infrastructure along the Mississippi. In addition she has pushed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to pass reforms similar to those included in the RIVER Act to keep the Inland Waterways System in good repair.