February 11, 2020
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted an additional $13.45 million in new funding for operations and maintenance (O&M) of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System in their FY20 Work Plan, which was released today, bringing the total allocation for O&M for FY20 to $85 million system-wide. This is a $7.2 million increase over FY19 O&M funds.
Inhofe praised the Army Corps for prioritizing the MKARNS:
“I am glad to see the Army Corps of Engineers continuing to prioritize the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System in their FY20 Work Plan,” Inhofe said. “This additional operations and maintenance funding will improve barge operations and protect interstate commerce in Oklahoma. While there remains a backlog of critical maintenance needs, including upgrades to its locks and dams, I will continue to fight to ensure the Army Corps devotes the resources necessary to fully modernize the infrastructure of the MKARNS.”
The MKARNS supports economic activity across a 12-state region, moving 10.9 million tons of commerce worth $3.5 billion annually. It is a vital corridor for agriculture commerce — farmers and ranchers rely on its availability year round to move crops to markets in all seasons and to facilitate the movement of fertilizer domestically to prepare for the growing season each year. Furthermore, the intermodal facilities available at ports along the MKARNS streamline the transfer of commodities goods through landside infrastructure onto barges for efficient movement down the river system. The MKARNS funding can be viewed here.
The FY20 Work Plan also includes an increase of $4.55 million in funding for the pre-construction, engineering and design phase of the Three Rivers Project at the mouth of the MKARNS.
Inhofe sent a the letter to USACE in December 2019 urging these important investments in the MKARNS.