Mrs. BUSTOS. Mr. Speaker, I rise to talk about a bill I introduced earlier today. It's called the Water Infrastructure Now Public-Private Partnership Act. Senator Durbin and Senator Kirk from Illinois introduced the Senate version as well today.
My bill would improve the Nation's water infrastructure, including the aging locks and dams along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, through public-private partnerships that would expedite projects and save taxpayer money.
My bill would help clear a $60 billion backlog of U.S. Army Corps projects that will take decades to complete without the help of private investment. It does this by creating a pilot program to explore agreements between the Army Corps of Engineers and private entities as alternatives to traditional financing, planning, design, and construction methods.
Mr. Speaker, the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers are absolutely critical to the economic well-being of not just my region, but also to the entire Midwest, the Nation, and even to the world. Many of these locks and dams were built during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt and are now more than 80 years old. That is why action must be taken to expand and modernize the locks and dams that help transport our goods and products worldwide.