What Will WRDA Legislation Bring?

By Mike Toohey, President & CEO of the Waterways Council, Inc.
Monday, January 06, 2014
Mike Toohey

On November 8, speaking at the Port of New Orleans, President Obama said “… corn and wheat is coming down from my home state of Illinois down the river, ending up here and then going all around the world. And it’s part of the reason we’ve been able to increase exports so rapidly is because we have some of the best natural resources and waterways and facilities in the world.”
This was a victory for the inland waterways industry because while the President has recognized ports, dams, levees, trains, trucks and other transportation infrastructure, he has not, heretofore, underscored the value of the inland waterways.
The President’s recognition of the inland waterways comes on the heels of the Statement of Administration Policy in support of House passage in October of H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).
Last May, the Senate approved its version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), S. 601.  The bills will next head to conference to reconcile the two versions.  Senate leaders announced that Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer and Ranking Member David Vitter will lead the Senate conference committee on the final WRDA/WRRDA bill.  Joining Chairman Boxer and Ranking Member Vitter are Democratic Senators Max Baucus (Mont.), Tom Carper (De.), Ben Cardin (Md.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.). Republican conferees are Senators James Inhofe (Okla.) and John Barrasso (Wyo.).
The House named its conferees on November 14 as follows: Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), fellow T&I Committee members John Duncan (R-Tenn.), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Candice Miller (R-Mich.), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), Tom Rice (R-S.C.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) and Rodney Davis (R-Ill.). House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and member Rob Bishop (R-Utah) were also named.
Democratic conferees are T&I Committee Ranking Member Nick Rahall (W.Va.) and T&I Committee members Peter DeFazio (Ore.), Corrine Brown (Fla.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Tim Bishop (N.Y.), Donna Edwards (Md.), John Garamendi (Calif.), Janice Hahn (Calif.), Rick Nolan (Minn.), Lois Frankel (Fla.) and Cheri Bustos (Ill.). House Natural Resources Committee member Grace Napolitano (Calif.) was also named.
Once decided, a final water resources reauthorization bill will head to the President for his signature into law that should ultimately make great strides in modernizing our 1920’s/1930’s-era locks and dams to be ready for 21st century (and beyond) cargoes.  It will also modernize our harbors, ports and shipping channels.   
One provision likely to be missing from a final bill is an increase in the user fee that inland towboat operators pay that is matched by Federal dollars and spent on new construction and major rehabilitation of the lock and dam system. By regular order, the House must initiate revenue measures, so the provision was missing from the Senate’s bill. When the House introduced WRRDA in September, it did not include this user fee increase. The House Ways & Means Committee has said this provision is best suited to be included as part of comprehensive tax reform legislation. Industry hopes it can be added to faster-moving legislation such as a tax extenders bill that may move at year’s end. Our locks and dams need greater investment, the industry is willing to pay more of its fair-share, and the time is now.      
Let’s hope the holidays bring the gift of final bipartisan water resources reauthorization that can be celebrated every two years, rather than the six years since the last one in 2007.  WR(R)DA truly is the gift that keeps on giving to the nation.


(As published in the December 2013 edition of Marine News - www.marinelink.com)
 

Maritime Reporter September 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Bulk Carrier Trends

COSCO Delivers Bulker

The Board of Directors of COSCO Corporation (Singapore) Limited announced that COSCO (Dalian) Shipyard Co., Ltd a subsidiary of the Company's 51% owned COSCO Shipyard Group Co.

NewLead Fixes Newcomer, "Newlead Castellano"

NewLead Holdings Ltd. announced today that it has entered into a time charter contract for the recently delivered Handysize vessel, the "Newlead Castellano".

Great Lakes Coal up More Than 12% in September

Lake Carriers’ Association reported that coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 3 million tons in September, an increase of more than 12 percent compared to a year ago.

Ports

UN: Ship Inspections near Somalia for Arms, Charcoal

The United Nations Security Council authorized the inspection of boats suspected of carrying illegal shipments of charcoal or weapons to and from Somalia on Friday,

UN Authorizes Ship Inspections Near Somalia For Arms, Charcoal

The United Nations Security Council authorized the inspection of boats suspected of carrying illegal shipments of charcoal or weapons to and from Somalia on Friday,

Liebherr to Deliver RTGs to Mayotte and Manila

Liebherr confirms orders for variable speed RTGs and electric RTGs. DPWorld Asian Terminals Inc. has placed an order with Liebherr Container Cranes for a further 5 RTGs at its Manila facility.

News

Decade Old India Shipping Summit Makes History

In ten years, India Shipping Summit held consistently in Mumbai, has sailed on a robust growth course despite the worldwide witnessing recessionary waves buffeting any endeavors to grow and gain.

USCG to Ensure Safety During World Series

The Coast Guard and local agencies are working to ensure the safety of boaters and baseball fans during World Series games at AT&T Park this weekend. The

Areva-Siemens Raises Claim Over Finnish Reactor Delays

The French-German consortium Areva-Siemens , the supplier of Finland's much-delayed Olkiluoto-3 nuclear reactor, has increased its claim against Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO),

Government Update

Navy to Commission Submarine North Dakota

The Navy will commission its newest attack submarine North Dakota, during a ceremony Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, at Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.

MARAD Seeks Comments on Proposed Policy for Deepwater Export Applications

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) is seeking comments on the agency’s proposed policy to accept, evaluate and process license applications for the construction

Oil Drillers Group to Fight U.S. Export Ban

More than a dozen U.S. oil producers have joined to lobby the federal government to reverse the 40-year-old ban on U.S. crude exports, a move that supporters hope

Logistics

UN: Ship Inspections near Somalia for Arms, Charcoal

The United Nations Security Council authorized the inspection of boats suspected of carrying illegal shipments of charcoal or weapons to and from Somalia on Friday,

Singapore Bunker Meter Mandate Targets 'Frothy Fuel'

Singapore, the world's biggest bunkering port, plans to end the so-called "cappucino effect" in ship fuelling through new meters designed to stop suppliers from short-changing customers,

Antwerp Port Achieves Highest Throughput

The port of Antwerp handled a freight volume of 148,344,168 tonnes during the first nine months of this year. That’s 3.7% more than the same period last year. Both

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Salvage Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.4618 sec (2 req/sec)