In an age when many members of Congress don’t want to spend more money on anything, it is big news that the Senate has passed a bill that would invest in the crumbling infrastructure of locks and dams vital to river transportation.
As the barges go, so to a large extent go dependent jobs and livelihoods. As it is, the deterioration of the locks and dams has been described as a ticking time bomb, threatening to close river traffic. The Band-Aid approach to river repairs can last only so long.
The Senate bill would reauthorize as much as $12.5 billion in water projects over the next decade, and improve the process in various ways. The legislation is a work in progress, and so any celebration must be tentative.
The measure still must go to the House, where the chairman of the Transportation Committee is working on his own plan. But this is the first time in six years that either chamber has passed a reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act. That’s reason to applaud.