Carp solution could include infrastructure spending

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Proposals to block Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes have largely focused on the costs and inconvenience of closing off Chicago-area waterways into Lake Michigan.

But business and environmental groups are exploring a possible upside: a broadly based infrastructure investment that would benefit much of northern Illinois, according to an article in The New York Times.

Construction, jobs in the freight sector and money-saving improvements in transportation networks could be among the results of efforts to create what environmentalists call "ecological separation" between Lake Michigan and the rivers and canals leading to the Mississippi River.

Other Great Lakes states estimate if the carp established itself in the lakes it would cause billions in economic damage. They have sued Illinois to prevent that from happening.

Tour-boat companies, barge operators, recreational boaters and others have cried out against one proposal: the intermittent closing of two locks that connect the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to Lake Michigan.

The Illinois attorney general has argued in a court filing that such closings would threaten a system that carries $16 billion in goods through the state each year. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is expected to release a report next month putting a price tag on what a lock closing could cost, the newspaper reports.

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