This study will focus on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' economic analysis regarding proposed improvements, including economic assumptions, methods. and forecasts regarding barge transportation demand on the Upper Mississippi River-Illinois Waterway. The Corps must also consider larger water resources project planning issues, such as formal U.S. federal water resource planning guidelines, possible environmental impacts, and the costs of navigation improvements. Thus, while the committee will focus on the Corps' economic analysis, they will also comment upon the extent to which these larger issues are being appropriately considered in the navigation system feasibility study.
Because the Corps has not yet completed its navigation feasibility study, the committee could not review and comment on the Corps' final navigation feasibility study; the committee, however, reviewed a draft of that study (USACE, 2000a). The committee concluded, and the Department of Defense agreed, that an interim report that reviewed and commented on the Corps' models and methods would be useful. Based on its review of the Corps' methods in the draft report, the committee aims to provide helpful advice to the Corps for completion of the navigation system feasibility study.