Obama proposal sets aside more funds for Mon River, Olmsted lock projects
Overlooking the landside lock, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and barge industry executives walk atop the Charleroi Lock and Dam during a tour of the Locks and Dams 2, 3, and 4 of the lower Monongahela River in June 2012.
By Len Bolselovic
Beaver County Blue via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
March 4, 2014 – President Barack Obama’s proposed fiscal 2015 budget includes $9 million for continuing long-delayed work on a vital lock and dam project on the Monongahela River, more than four times the funding it received in the current fiscal year.
The White House budget proposal also includes $160 million for continuing construction at an Ohio River infrastructure project plagued by massive cost overruns. Paying for that project, located about 600 miles down the Ohio from Pittsburgh at Olmsted, Ill., has prevented the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from providing additional funding for the Mon River work and other projects.
The barge industry and the federal government evenly split the cost of major lock and dam construction projects overseen by the Corps. The industry’s share is generated by a tax barge operators pay on the diesel fuel they use.
But river industry officials have complained about covering cost overruns at Olmsted, where the price tag has ballooned from $775 million when Congress authorized the project in 1988 to $3.1 billion.
More than half of the 200-plus locks and associated dams overseen by the Corps were built more than 50 years ago, which is how long they were expected to last.