The American Waterways Operators, the national trade association representing the U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry, praised yesterday’s bipartisan passage of H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform Development Act, as a clear commitment to improving the nation’s ports and waterways and recognition of the tremendous value of our water transportation network.
“The overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle is an example of what our democracy was meant to do – set aside partisan politics to help secure the nation’s collective success,” stated Tom Allegretti, AWO’s President & CEO.
Mr. Allegretti acknowledged the strong leadership of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-WV), along with House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-OH) and Ranking Member Tim Bishop (D-NY).
“Their dedication, their willingness to share their commitment to the nation’s water transportation infrastructure, helped make this bill a reality,” Mr. Allegretti stated. “We are very grateful for their steadfast support.”
Also critical to the bill was the inclusion of several provisions of H.R. 1149, also known as WAVE 4, sponsored by Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL), which would reform U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project delivery processes; create a prioritization of authorized improvements based upon risk of failure and economic return; and provide needed adjustments to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.
“Including these provisions makes the WRRDA bill even stronger,” Mr. Allegretti noted. “We greatly appreciate the leadership of Mr. Whitfield and Mr. Lipinski in pressing forward on these essential items.”
“AWO members are committed to providing safe, efficient and reliable transportation of the nation’s valuable cargo,” Mr. Allegretti continued. “Our industry also provides needed family wage jobs and promising career paths. WRRDA’s passage in the House is an essential step in ensuring the nation’s water transportation system will continue to meet our needs well into the future and we look forward to further discussion as the bill moves toward conference.”