There is general agreement now that the Chickamauga lock on the Tennessee River here is deteriorating at a rapidly increasing rate, that it requires frequent repairs to keep it operating and that the need for a replacement is pressing. There is highly partisan debate about to pay for repairs, upkeep and a replacement. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican, said Wednesday that he has a bipartisan plan that would expedite resumption of currently stalled construction. Given current circumstances, his proposal is reasonable, though it faces considerable and unnecessarily partisan opposition in Congress.
The Tennesseean, along with fellow Republic Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., intends to introduce the American Waterworks Act sometime after the November elections. The bill would directly address funding and other shortfalls in the nation's port and waterway infrastructure.