WASHINGTON, DC - Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) today expressed its gratitude to the U.S. House of Representatives for passage of the emergency spending measure that appropriates $400 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This action by the House demonstrates recognition of the critical importance of the work of the Army Corps of Engineers in helping to restore navigation to the Gulf Coast, and to help return normalcy to a region ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
"Waterways Council, Inc., commends the House for their quick action today to appropriate funds to continue the important work of the Corps to help pump water out of the city of New Orleans, and to improve navigation conditions throughout the Gulf Coast region," said R. Barry Palmer, WCI President. "Our hearts are heavy for the victims of this disaster, but this funding will help move the process further toward recovery and that is a very positive development," he said. "We understand that the Senate plans to move later today to pass similar legislation, and applaud their consideration of this important measure."
A critical economic generator, the nation's waterways transport key commodities such as coal, grain, petroleum, chemicals, and aggregates that fuel the nation's industrial and agricultural activity. The U.S. barge and towing industry is the most efficient mode of transportation, moving 15 percent of the nation's freight for just two percent of the freight transportation cost, saving shippers and consumers more than $7 billion annually compared to alternate transportation modes. Among its many important roles, the industry brings the gasoline and petroleum products of Gulf Coast refineries to market and provides a cost-effective means for the nation's farmers to move their crops to the world market.