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Serving: WI

Veto Override Ends Wait for Lock Modernization

With approval, now the question is appropriating the funds to update locks.

Thursday's 79-14 vote in the Senate to override President Bush's veto of the Water Resources Development Act ended nearly 20 years of work to gain approval for modernizing locks on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.

Just before the vote, Senate Ag Committee Chair Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said, "It is extremely important for the upper Midwest. We've worked hard on this WRDA bill for years, we've reached agreements on it we've hammered it out, it has had overwhelming support in both bodies and it will get it again today."

However; there is a new challenge. Even though President Bush vetoed WRDA citing the cost as the reason; the bill doesn't spend any money. It simply authorizes the projects and opens the way to appropriate the funds needed to replace the locks. Once the money is appropriated it will still take more than 15 years to replace the 70-year-old locks that are falling apart.

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