Illinois Rejects Michigan Brandon Road Offer
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner turned down an offer from Michigan for about $8 million a year to pay the annual maintenance costs of an expensive and complex Corps of Engineers plan to construct additional barriers and other measures to stop Asian carp at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam complex on the Des Plaines River, according to the Detroit News.
The annual payments would not kick in until the project is built, which is not certain. Congress must first appropriate the estimated $780 million cost, and the construction would take about 10 years if the money is appropriated.
In response to the offer, Rauner wrote a letter to Michigan’s governor in which he said, “We do not believe it is appropriate—especially given our lame-duck status—for us to accept funds and bind Illinois to a project that is not final, and whose true costs are years from being calculated.”
Rauner and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, both Republicans, are soon to leave office. Rauner was defeated in the November election by Democrat J.B. Pritzker, who will be inaugurated in January. Snyder, who left because of term limits, was succeeded by Democrat Gretchen Whitmer January 1.
Rauner and his administration have been critical of the Brandon Road project, arguing that Illinois faces huge financial struggles due to its unfunded pensions and other issues.
The Rock Island Engineer District final plan for the carp structures at Brandon Road is still in a comment period. The most complex and expensive of several alternative proposals that were considered, it includes an array of structural and non-structural measures to target carp infiltration in many ways and at different stages of the carp life cycle.
The navigation industry opposes many of the measures included in the final plan as unnecessary and restrictive to navigation.