The Illinois legislature has approved a measure aimed at helping a southern Illinois community fix a Mississippi River levee. The Illinois House approved the legislation yesterday, the state Senate passed the bill in March and it now heads to the governor. State Representative Mike Bost of Murphysboro says farmers and others along the levee aren't asking for a state bail-out:
"It is a case where the locals are trying to do this themselves, it's not a case where they're coming to the state and asking for money."
The legislation lets Jackson County spend up to $1.7 million out of a special fund to help pay for repairs to the Big Muddy Levee near the 600-resident village of Grand Tower. The earthen barrier showed signs of trouble in 2013, including holes blamed on the collapse of a drainage pipe. The levee was given an unsatisfactory rating in mid-2011, making it ineligible for federal funds. Grand Tower mayor Mike Ellet says he hopes construction can begin this summer.
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