Peter Stephaich Testifies in Favor of New WRDA

MarineLink.com
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Peter Stephaich. Photo: WCI

Peter Stephaich, Chairman of Campbell Transportation Company in Pittsburgh, PA, and Executive Committee member of Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI), testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee on “Foundations for a New Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).”

Mr. Stephaich addressed the importance of water resources development legislation, the current broken model for modernizing the nation’s locks and dams, and the need for adoption of the Capital Development Plan (CDP), which is H.R. 1149, Waterways are Vital  to our Economy, Energy, Efficiency and the Environment (WAVE 4) to remedy problems with the current water resources development approach. H.R. 1149 provides a $7.6 billion, 20-year program ($380 million/year) capital investment program to which the industry would contribute $110 million per year and the Federal government would contribute $270 million annually.

Urging the inclusion of WAVE 4 in a WRDA bill, Mr. Stephaich outlined the bill’s key elements:

• Offers a prioritized list of projects based upon risk of failure and benefits to the nation with an emphasis on finishing projects already underway and ensuring that funding is available to efficiently fund work.
• Ensures that future Corps’ estimates for project costs must have a confidence level of at least 80%.
• Continues the cost-share for lock construction at remain 50-50, industry-federal, but  makes major rehabilitation costs 100% federal unless greater than $100 million, in which case they would be cost shared 50-50, industry-federal. The current threshold of about $14 million is too low and results in routine operations and maintenance (O&M) items being cost shared with the industry thereby straining the Trust Fund and functioning in a way that is contrary to Congressional intent that O&M should be a 100% federal obligation.
• Changes the cost-share for dam construction to be 100% federal instead of the current 50-50 cost share because of the many national beneficiaries of dams (water supply, electric utilities, recreation, etc.).
• Caps industry’s exposure for project costs at 50% of the inflation-adjusted level set in a project’s authorization document in order to protect consumers from unreasonable cost increases and project delay and incentivizes the government to complete projects within budget.
• Increases the industry’s diesel fuel user fee by 30-45%, from the current 20-cents-per gallon to 26- to 29-cents-per-gallon.
• Improves the Corps’ project management and processes to better deliver completed modernization projects on time and within budget.

The Senate companion bill to the WAVE 4 bill (H.R. 1149) is the RIVER Act (S. 407).

Modernizing the nation’s waterways transportation system can create American jobs, increase exports, and inject billions of dollars into the U.S. economy.  On average, investment in the inland waterways system infrastructure returns more than 10 times to the nation’s economy what is spent.

“As a nation, we seem to have lost the ability we once had to plan and construct individual inland waterway capital projects in a timely and cost-effective fashion,” Mr. Stephaich said.  “In our ever-more-competitive global economy, where our nation’s economic competitors are investing vast sums to improve their transportation networks and waterway infrastructure, why would we in the United States knowingly allow our inland waterway system to continue to deteriorate?,” he asked. 

“What is it that makes it so difficult for Americans today to see what was so clear and compelling to our parents and generations of parents before them, that for this great nation to have a future we must invest today and every day in its wealth-producing capacity, one pillar of which is and always has been our inland waterway system?,” Mr. Stephaich posed.

www.waterwayscouncil.org
 

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

People in the News

Senator Says 2015 Could Be Time for US Oil Export Bill

The top supporter in the U.S. Congress for reversing the 40-year ban on crude oil exports, Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, said next year could be the time for a bill on lifting the restriction.

Shuster Receives Champion of Maritime Award

Congressman honored for support of domestic maritime industry.   Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) this week received the 2014 Champion of Maritime Award from the American Maritime Partnership (AMP),

USCG in Search of Missing Man in Lake Michigan

The Coast Guard is searching for a man who went missing on Lake Michigan, Tuesday. Missing is 48-year-old Joseph Kiehm from Milwaukee. Kiehm was last seen aboard his 26-foot white sailboat,

Government Update

Finland Grants Support to Three Small LNG Terminals

The Finnish government granted 65.2 million euros (84.22 million US dollar) in subsidies to build three small liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to cut on use

NRC Program Targets Vessel Operating Costs, Safety

Canada’s NRC creating solutions for the growing Canadian shipbuilding, military vessels, marine commercial transportation and offshore resource industries As

Senator Says 2015 Could Be Time for US Oil Export Bill

The top supporter in the U.S. Congress for reversing the 40-year ban on crude oil exports, Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, said next year could be the time for a bill on lifting the restriction.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar 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: 0.1595 sec (6 req/sec)