As the inland waterways industry looks back on 2006 and forward to 2007, Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) offers the following highlights and areas of focus:
• President Bush’s FY 2007 proposed budget requested a record level of federal funding for 11 Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF)-financed projects. The budget request proposed FY ’07 spending of $394 million for Inland Waterways Trust Fund financed projects, of which $197 million would come from the dedicated Inland Waterways Trust Fund. The remainder would come from general treasury funds, as required under current law. The President’s FY ‘07 budget request is the highest funding recommendation for IWTF funded projects since cost-sharing legislation was enacted into law in 1986.
• Specifically, funding for the following priority projects included: Olmsted Locks and Dam (Ohio River, IL/KY), $110 million; McAlpine Lock (Ohio River, IN/KY), $70 million; Marmet (Kanawha River, West Virginia), $50.8 million; Lower Monongahela River 2, 3 and 4 (PA), $62.8 million; Chickamauga Lock (Tennessee River, TN), $27 million, and Emsworth Dam (Ohio River), $17 million. Also approximately $50 million was allocated for five additional major rehabilitation projects on the system, Locks and Dams 11, 19, 24, and 27 (Upper Mississippi River), and Markland (Ohio River).
• The proposed FY 2007 budget also requested record level federal funding for the entire U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works program of $4.733 billion.
• WCI expressed its great disappointment with the failure of the Congress to enact Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) legislation. The passage of WRDA in the Senate in July would have authorized seven critical lock and dam modernization projects on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers, and Bayou Sorrel on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
• On November 27, 2006, the Board of Directors of Waterways Council, Inc. unanimously approved an agreement and plan of merger with the Midwest Are River Coalition, MARC 2000. The MARC 2000 Board of Directors voted unanimously on December 15, 2006 to approve the merger of MARC 2000 into Waterways Council, Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, Waterways Council will retain the right to continue to use the name MARC 2000 in pursuance of the Midwest region’s priorities and goals. This merger is designed to nationalize the issue of lock modernization for the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway (UMRS) to help accomplish the mission of maintaining and modernizing the waterways infrastructure of the UMRS.
• The Honorable David Hobson (R-OH) received the Fifth Annual Waterways Council, Inc. Leadership Service Award on March 1, 2006 in Washington, DC. Rep. Hobson was honored for his steadfast commitment to the improvement of the Nation’s ports and commercial inland waterways system over his many years in Congress. The Sixth Annual Leadership Service Award will be presented February 28, 2007 at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel.
• At its Annual Meeting held October 18 in Nashville, the WCI Board of Directors elected the following officers and Executive Committee members for 2006-2007: Mark Knoy, President, AEP MEMCO LLC, Chairman; R. Barry Palmer, WCI, President and CEO; Dan Mecklenborg, Senior Vice President, HR & Chief Legal Officer, Ingram Barge Company, First Vice Chairman and General Counsel; Kevin Sparks, Manager, Petrochemicals Marketing, Marathon Petroleum Co., LLC, Secretary/Treasurer; Peter Lilly, Chief Operating Officer, CONSOL Energy Inc. (CNX)
, and Rick Calhoun, President, Cargo Carriers, Vice-Chairmen. Peter Stephaich, Chairman, Campbell Transportation Co; H. Merritt Lane III, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canal Barge Company; and Berdon Lawrence, Chairman, Kirby Corporation (KEX)
, and WCI Past Chairman, were named as additional Executive Committee Members.