The Army Corps of Engineers released their work plan for fiscal year 2016 earlier this week, and $29.9 million was allocated to continue construction on the Chickamauga Lock.
The money will go toward finishing lock excavation, installing anchors and constructing a retaining wall, an Army Corps of Engineers news release said.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said that the lock, once finished, will benefit East Tennessee and Chattanooga:
This funding will be enough to continue construction of the new Chickamauga Lock for the second consecutive year, which is great news for East Tennessee since it will help keep up to 150,000 trucks off I-75 and keep the cost of shipping goods low for Oak Ridge, Y-12 and manufacturers across the state. This year, members of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, which I lead, worked hard to ensure we could keep federal lock and dam projects fully funded for the second year, which was important for Chickamauga Lock after the project was restarted with $3 million last year.
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) said he was pleased that the lock would receive additional funds in 2016.
“I am glad to see the Army Corps of Engineers’ work plan includes $29.9 million for continued construction on the new Chickamauga Lock,” Fleischmann said. “The importance of the new lock for East Tennessee cannot be overstated, and it will remain one of my top priorities in Congress.”
Despite additional funding for the project this year, President Barack Obama’s fiscal year budget for next year did not include funding for the Chickamauga Lock.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that the Obama administration’s budget set the reduction of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program by $1.37 billion. To continue the project, Congress would have to outspend what the Obama administration recommended in the 2017 budget.