WCI: Groundswell of Support for Inland Waterways Capital Plan
To date, more than 200 industry stakeholders including national organizations, state, regional and local organizations, and companies have endorsed the new comprehensive, consensus-based package of recommendations formulated by an industry and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers working group to improve the reliability of the U.S. inland navigation system over the next 20 years, known as the Inland Waterways Capital Development Plan. Among the supporters are the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, American Land Conservancy, National Corn Growers Association, National Grain & Feed Association, Steel Manufacturers Association, National Mining Association, National Council of Farm Cooperatives, and many others from diverse segments of the American economy. This Inland Waterways Capital Development Plan is being proposed in lieu of the imposition of a lockage fee that has been unsuccessfully offered in the last three fiscal year budgets and is strongly opposed by Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI), American Waterways Operators (AWO), and National Waterways Conference (NWC), as well as many Members of Congress. In April 2010, the final report and recommendations of the Inland Waterways Capital Development Plan were ratified unanimously by the Inland Waterways Users Board and submitted to Congress. If adopted into law, the Plan will better address the needs of the entire inland waterways system and provide more funding for critically needed infrastructure improvements. Modern lock and dam infrastructure is essential to U.S. competitiveness in the world market, to environmental protection, to energy efficiency, to the sustainment of well-paying American jobs and to congestion relief. America’s inland waterways are a precious resource, and the envy of the world because of the natural “water highway” the waterways system provides for commerce.
The proposal calls for $7.6 billion for the 20-year Inland Waterway Capital Investment Program and would entail an average annual investment level of $380 million, comprised of two sub-component average annual program levels: $320 million for “construction” projects and $60 million for major rehabilitation projects.
The complete list of supporters can be found at www.waterwayscouncil.org