State Journal-Register

October 30, 2003

Presidential library funds clear hurdle / House, Senate negotiators agree to send $5 million

Copley News Service

WASHINGTON - House and Senate negotiators have agreed to send another $5 million for the ongoing construction of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.

Earlier this year, the House had approved $6 million, while the Senate had included just $3 million for the library-museum facility in fiscal 2004. The library is scheduled to open next spring and the museum later next year. So far, the federal government has contributed $28.5 million of the library and museum's $115 million cost.

The agreement was approved by the House on Wednesday and is expected to be approved by the Senate later this week.

The House-Senate compromise also includes a $295,000 increase in the operating budget for the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield. The funding for the national historic site would come through the National Park Service. Another $285,000 for stabilizing the home's interior was contained in the Senate bill, but the funding was eliminated in the final agreement. The project has adequate funding to continue this year, congressional aides said.

The House-Senate agreement also contains $600,000 for the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor and other projects including the Canal Corridor Association's Port of LaSalle project. The Senate bill had included $745,000 and the House, $500,000.

The planned $7 million museum would tell how water transportation transformed the Midwest. Supporters hope it will attract tourists to help revitalize downtown LaSalle.

Congress is behind in the funding process. Federal fiscal year 2004 began Oct. 1.

With several funding bills still to be approved, the federal government has been operating under a series of temporary funding measures.