The Unsung Benefits of the Inland Waterways
With developments in the current health crisis almost entirely consuming nearly all news reporting, one could be forgiven for thinking that the members of Congress are thinking about and working on little else, and that even if they were, the divisive partisanship of recent years would doom the prospects of much else getting done. Happily, that is not the case for the nation’s inland waterways. Both houses of Congress are diligently working on maintaining the momentum of passing a Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) every two years…
Insights: Jennifer Carpenter, AWO President & CEO
Jennifer A. Carpenter serves as President & CEO of The American Waterways Operators (AWO), the national trade association representing the inland and coastal tugboat, towboat and barge industry. Carpenter joined AWO in August 1990 and became President & CEO in January 2020. Before assuming her current position, she worked her way up the hawsepipe from Government Affairs Assistant to Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, holding a series of progressively responsible positions including Manager-Regulatory Issues…
The Congress worked hard and most importantly together at the end of the recently-concluded First Session in December to finalize and pass Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations that included the Energy & Water Development (E&WD) Appropriations bill that funds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) work on the nations’ waterways.By law, 60 days after the President signs the E&WD appropriations bill, the Corps must release a Work Plan that shows specific allocations for funding projects.
Dredging at the Forefront of Corps' 2020 Work Plan
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' FY2020 Work Plan release on Monday places dredging at the forefront.“We welcome the FY 2020 Work Plan released by the Army Corps,” said William P. Doyle, CEO of the Dredging Contractors of America. “We’re ready – our dredging companies are hard at work on projects and continue to build new dredging ships for America’s ports, waterways and beaches.”The Work Plan is based on the FY2020 Energy and Water Development appropriations bills signed into law by President Trump in December 2019.In December 2019…
WCI's Toohey Announces Retirement
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) President and CEO Michael J. Toohey has revealed plans to retire, the group announced to its Board of Directors and members at its meeting in Washington, DC on Wednesday.“Having turned 71 this month, I believe it is time to focus on my faith, family, my golf handicap and my other interests,” Toohey said. “I remain committed to WCI’s continued achievement now and in the future once a successor is named.”WCI’s Executive Committee will select an executive search firm to begin the process to seek a successor.
WCI Applauds Corps’ FY20 Work Plan
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) offered praise for Congress, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ for the Corps’ Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) work plan that lays out allocations for funds provided in the FY20 Energy & Water Development Appropriations bill toward the Corps’ civil works mission. The work plan was released late yesterday.Critical to the nation’s agricultural shippers and American family farmers, the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) (Upper Mississippi River – Illinois Waterway System: IL…
Trump's FY21 Budget Request 'Inadequate' -WCI
President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) budget request released on Monday is "astonishingly inadequate" says industry advocate Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI).The FY21 budget provides $0 for construction of ongoing priority navigation projects cost-shared through the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF); cuts funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works Mission by 22% ($5.967 billion, a $1.7 billion decrease from the FY20 enacted level); and proposes $1.8 million in new user fees on commercial waterways operators.Last fiscal year (FY20)…
INSIGHTS: Peter Stephaich
Chairman & CEO, Campbell Transportation Company.Peter H. Stephaich is Chairman and CEO of Blue Danube Incorporated and Campbell Transportation Company. Currently, he is also Chairman of the Board of the Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI). Peter also serves on the Board of Directors of Blue Danube, a position that he has held since 1982. Serving the barge industry for over 30 years in a number of key roles, he also counts among his many qualifications his tenure(s) as Past Chairman and Past Treasurer of the American Waterways Operators (AWO)…
President's Request Cuts Funding for USACE
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) reacted to the Trump Administration’s release of an outline of its top-line FY20 budget numbers yesterday. Today, the Corps of Engineers released its account and project-specific funding levels. For the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program, the FY20 budget proposes $4.827 billion, a 31% cut from the FY19 appropriated amount of $7.0 billion. Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) proposed funding in FY20 is $55.5 million, with a total of $111 million requested for the Lower Mon Project (Monongahela River, Pittsburgh), funding it to completion.
Waterways Council Reacts to Budget Numbers
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) reacted to the Trump Administration’s release of an outline of its top-line FY20 budget numbers yesterday. Today, the Corps of Engineers released its account and project-specific funding levels.For the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program, the FY20 budget proposes $4.827 billion, a 31% cut from the FY19 appropriated amount of $7.0 billion.Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) proposed funding in FY20 is $55.5 million, with a total of $111 million requested for the Lower Mon Project (Monongahela River, Pittsburgh), funding it to completion.
OP/ED: Structuring Infrastructure
The Inland Waterways View.At the start of any new year, we are often asked what our challenges will be or what we are going to do differently in the year ahead. However, in 2019, just like each year since Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) was founded in 2003, we intend to stay the course to advocate for full and efficient funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue its Civil Works mission to construct and maintain navigation projects on the inland waterways.The Corps’…
Interview: Mark Knoy, President and CEO, ACBL
American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL) named Mark K. Knoy as its president and chief executive officer in August 2011. Prior to joining ACBL, he was vice president of American Electric Power’s (AEP) Fuel, Emissions and Logistics Group and president of AEP River Operations, having joined AEP with its 2001 purchase of MEMCO Barge Line. From 1984 to 1994, he was owner/operator of The Mark Twain Towing Company and Delmar Marine, Inc., Pekin, Illinois. He began his career in 1973 working aboard towboats on the inland waterways as a deck hand and then as a captain.
Op/Ed: Disconnect from River to Washington
Just before the anticipation of good things to come on Valentine’s Day, on February 12, the inland waterways transportation industry was left feeling disappointed and puzzled after the release of the long-awaited Trump Administration infrastructure principles, and then the release of President Trump’s FY 2019 budget request. During the Presidential campaign, then-candidate Trump said he would undertake a $1 trillion infrastructure initiative that would focus on a wide array of projects, from sewer systems to bridges to Veterans Hospitals to rural broadband expansion.
Trump’s Infrastructure Proposals Disappoint -WCI
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) reacted to the Trump Administration infrastructure principles released today, expressing disappointment that the proposal moves toward eliminating the role of the Federal government to construct, operate and maintain the nation’s waterways by transferring that responsibility to nonfederal public or private entities. The President’s FY2019 budget request and the infrastructure initiative also propose to modernize the waterways transportation system…
Federal Waterways Infrastructure Outlook
On Capitol Hill, October 1 was the first day of 2018, at least for the federal government’s fiscal year. In theory, on 10/1, the federal budget is supposed to be finalized with appropriations – i.e., spending – established for the next year. In practice, of course, it rarely works that way. Budget deliberations frequently last through December. And even on New Year’s Eve, Congress may be forced to vote on a Continuing Resolution to keep the government operating. The 2018 budget is of particular interest and it’s particularly important.
WCI Meets the Press, Addresses FY 2018 Budget Request
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017; FY 2017 Corps' Work Plan and Infrastructure Plan Addressed. Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) today held its annual briefing for the news media to address the President’s FY 2018 budget request, the FY 2017 Consolidated Omnibus Appropriations Act, the Corps of Engineers’ FY 2017 Work Plan, and the Administration’s infrastructure initiative. he event was held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The full FY 2018 budget request to Congress released by the Trump Administration proposes $5.02 billion for the Corps’ Civil Works program…
WCI Applauds FY 2017 Omnibus
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) praised today’s passage of the FY 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill that provides funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017. FY ’17 funding for the Corps’ Civil Works mission totals $6.038 billion, a 0.8 percent increase above the FY ’16 funding level, but almost a 31 percent increase above the Obama Administration requested level. The bill provides full-use of estimated annual revenues from the…
OP/Ed: New Year, New Opportunity
The start of a new year often brings change, but in the nation’s capital, 2017 means a new President and Administration, and a new Congress. Waterways Council, Inc.’s objective remains the same as it has since our start in 2005: to advocate for a modern, efficient and reliable inland waterways transportation system. For WCI, achieving this means working from our “three-legged advocacy stool” approach to educating these new Washingtonians through direct lobbying, stakeholder support and outreach, and media relations.
Rethinking Inland Infrastructure Finance
P3: An alternative to tolls or lockage fees in public-private partnerships for inland waterways. Within the generally sorry state of the U.S. inland waterways infrastructure, there are some locations where conditions are particularly dire. Among those in this latter situation are several locks and dams on the Illinois River, including the La Grange Lock and Dam and the Peoria Lock and Dam, both of which were completed in 1939. Both of them are on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, which is a dubious distinction for a major transportation facility of the twenty-first century.
Senate Approves Strong Funding for USACE
The FY ’17 Energy & Water Development (E&WD) and Related Agencies appropriations bill has been approved by the U.S. Senate in a 90-8 vote, significantly increasing funding in Fiscal Year 2017 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works Program. The House version of this bill, which passed out of the Appropriations Committee last month, is awaiting floor action. Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) President Michael J. Toohey underscored the work of Chairman Cochran and Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)…
WCI's Toohey Applauds WRDA 2016 Bill
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) President/CEO Michael J. “We thank Chairman James Inhofe and Ranking Member Barbara Boxer for their collaborative efforts to develop a WRDA 2016 bill that addresses inland waterways system priorities. Particularly, we applaud the Committee’s rejection of lockage fees/tolls to finance Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) on the Nation’s waterways. WCI is also supportive of the Senate bill’s authorization of $16.7 million in modification work for Calcasieu Lock in Louisiana, and for the Brazos Island Harbor project (funded with $116 million Federal and $135 million non-Federal funds). We also applaud the provision to remove Inland Waterways Trust Fund capital projects from the five-year/no funding de-authorization rule until Olmsted is substantially off the books.
WCI Applauds Increased FY'17 Funding
The Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) praised the bipartisan leadership of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Vice Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Senate Energy & Water Development (E&WD) Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for the 30-0 vote approving the fiscal year 2017 appropriations bill that increases funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works Program. The Corps’ Civil Works mission funded in the Senate bill is $6 billion, an increase of $11 million above the FY 2016 enacted level, and $1.378 million above the President’s budget request. It restores the 23 percent cut to the Corps’ budget proposed by the Administration for FY ’17.
Stakeholders Voice Opposition to Proposed Waterway Tolls
A group of 75 companies and organizations have collectively voiced opposition to a Public Private Partnership (P3) project that would seek to toll the Illinois Waterway and that could make its way into the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) of 2016. The group consisting of a variety of stakeholders across the logistics chain and led by the Waterways Council, Inc. “We are not opposed to appropriate, properly-structured financing to improve the nation’s inland waterways transportation system,” the letters said.