Southwest Illinois Flood Prevention District Council

(Flickr/Brian Hillegas)

The U.S. Senate passed the first legislation authorizing infrastructure upgrades on the nation’s waterways since 2007, including improvements to locks and dams along the Mississippi River.

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act passed 91-7 Thursday, sending the bill to the president. The House passed the measure Tuesday on a 412-4 vote.

The 34 projects authorized by the omnibus legislation will cost an estimated $12.3 billion. Missouri's and Illinois’ senators all voted for the bill. It includes several projects that directly affect this area.       

(Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

Upgrading the Metro East’s aging levees is finally on Washington’s radar, according to officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Yet they warn that the push for more federal funding must continue if the Corps hopes to bring the levees back to 500 year flood protection standards by 2021. That's the Corps’ latest projection for completing the work.