5.5 In. ’05, 6.6 In ’06 will be the theme of the National Waterways Conference’s 2004 Budget Summit to be held at the Holiday Inn, Capitol on Tuesday, March 9 and Wednesday, March 10. The title refers to the billions of dollars it will take for the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers to function at a program funding level that allows projects to go forward, minimizing the current undue project delays and terminations. IF the Army corps of Engineers were to have a full capability funding for all of their projects, NWC estimates the price tag would easily exceed $8 billion. President Bush’s recent FY 2005 Budget request
for the Army Corps of Engineers totals $4.215 billion.
The NWC hopes to make their members aware of the challenges facing the Corps, such an under-funded projects and a rapidly deteriorating infrastructure. It will show how an under-funded Corps impacts each state or congressional district, as well as the national implications of increased congestion, increased air pollution
, increased shipping costs and decreased jobs if the infrastructure deteriorates to the point where watery way closures are required. This information will make NWC delegates better prepared to address waterway issues when they visit with their congressmen and administration officials.
The Summit will be held from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday leaving afternoons free for congressional and administration visits.
Robert W. Portiss, Port Director for the Tulsa Port of Catoosa and Chairman of the National Waterways Conference will preside. Don Waldron, Administrator, Tennessee, Tombigbee Waterway Authority will introduce the speakers.