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 July 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Ports

CMA CGM Vivaldi Docks at Halifax Port

The Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia, may be getting a new lease on life with the arrival on August 3 of the CMA CGM Vivaldi at Halterm International Container Terminal.

Seattle and Tacoma Ports Cement Alliance

The port commissions of Seattle and Tacoma voted unanimously to form the Northwest Seaport Alliance, unifying the longtime rivals’ marine cargo divisions.   The

China's Maritime Silk Road Gamble with ASEAN

The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China hopes to connect its 21st-century Maritime Silk Road with the ASEAN Community, reports the state news agency Xinhua.

News

Southeast Asia Turns into a Piracy Hot Spot

According to data from the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau, pirate attacks in Southeast Asia hit a 12-year high in the first six months of 2015.

Marine Bodies Unite

The boards of the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) are pleased to

Seattle and Tacoma Ports Cement Alliance

The port commissions of Seattle and Tacoma voted unanimously to form the Northwest Seaport Alliance, unifying the longtime rivals’ marine cargo divisions.   The

Government Update

Marad Visits TX Maritime Technology & Training Center

United States Maritime Administration tours Maritime Technology and Training Center site.   Administrators from the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD),

Pressure for Australia Sub Deal Grows

Australia to spend A$65 bln on ships and subs over 20 years; PM pledges A$40 bln for domestic shipbuilders. Australia will spend A$89 billion ($65 billion) on

S.Africa Considering Ship-Based Power Generation

South Africa could deploy power barges using gas to generate electricity to help overcome chronic supply shortages, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

Logistics

Asia to Northern Europe Shipping Rates Jump 177%

Asia to Northern Europe shipping freight rates for transporting containers jumped by 177.3 percent to $1.109 per 20-foot container (TEU) in the week ended on Friday,

CMA CGM Vivaldi Docks at Halifax Port

The Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia, may be getting a new lease on life with the arrival on August 3 of the CMA CGM Vivaldi at Halterm International Container Terminal.

Southeast Asia Turns into a Piracy Hot Spot

According to data from the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau, pirate attacks in Southeast Asia hit a 12-year high in the first six months of 2015.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Port Authority Ship Repair Ship Simulators Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.3604 sec (3 req/sec)