AWO Testifies Before Congress
Today, the American Waterways Operators testified before two congressional committees on the state of the American maritime industry.Tom Allegretti, President & CEO, testified before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee while across the Capitol, Jennifer Carpenter, Executive Vice President & COO, appeared before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. In written testimonies submitted to the Committee and Subcommittee, both Mr. Allegretti and Mrs.
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.
Waterways Council to Honor Sen. McConnell
U.S. Senator and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will receive the 17th Annual Waterways Council, Inc. Leadership Service Award on Wednesday evening, February 14, 2018 at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. “Waterways Council is so fortunate to have the opportunity to honor Senator McConnell, a great waterways advocate and to thank him publicly for his commitment to America’s critical waterways infrastructure, to jobs, and to competitive access,” said Michael J. Toohey, President/CEO of Waterways Council, Inc.
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.
Campbell CEO Stephaich Weighs in on All Things Inland
Peter H. Stephaich is Chairman and CEO of Blue Danube Incorporated and Campbell Transportation Company. Peter is also on the Board of Directors of Blue Danube, a position that he has held since 1982. If today he isn’t the most familiar name on the domestic waterfront, then perhaps, he should be. 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)…
American Society of Civil Engineers: Not Just a Tough Grader
Within the U.S. inland waterways industry, any mention of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will almost certainly be in reference to the “Infrastructure Report Card” that ASCE prepares and issues every four years, describing the condition and performance of America’s infrastructure in 16 categories: aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, public parks, rail, roads, schools, solid waste, transit and waste water.
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.
AWO, Stakeholders 'Barge In' at Capitol Hill
American Tugboat, Towboat and Barge Industry Urged Support for American Jobs, Vessel Discharge Reform, and Waterways Infrastructure. Members of the American Waterways Operators, the national trade association representing the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, called on Congress on Wednesday during AWO's annual Barge-In event, where more than 160 vessel owners and operators held 220 meetings with lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives. "AWO members play a vital role in ensuring the safe…
Highest Funding for Corps, Navigation Programs
WCI today applauded the work of negotiators to reach a final agreement last night for an FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill that funds the Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program under the Energy & Water Development Appropriations bill. The full House is expected to vote on a final agreement later this week. FY ‘16 funding for the Corps’ Civil Works mission is $5.99 billion, a 27% increase above the President’s budget request of $4.732 billion. --Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF)…
MoU Ensures Dialog Between US Rivers Leaders
Leadership from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard and the inland towing industry signed a memorandum of understanding today, designed to ensure consistent communications and support efficient and safe movement of commerce on the western rivers of the United States. The memorandum, signed by Jim Guidry (Kirby Inland Marine LP and RIETF co-chairman), Rear Admiral June E. Ryan (commander of the 9th Coast Guard District), Rear Admiral David R. Callahan (commander of the 8th Coast Guard District), Major General Michael C.
The Quest to Fund Inland Waterways
Infrastructure Projects: Perhaps Not So Quixotic After All? Over the course of 2014, significant steps forward were taken in the quest to find additional sources of funding for inland waterways infrastructure projects. First came the long awaited and much-celebrated Water Resources, Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA) in June, which included several provisions to address the funding needs of the ever-worsening condition of the inland waterways infrastructure. WRRDA eased…
River Bell Awards Acclaim Maritime 'Family'
The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) recognized two inland maritime industry leaders at an annual awards luncheon Thursday, December 11, 2014, in Paducah, Ky. The 15th Annual River Bell Awards Luncheon, hosted by SCI, raised more than $270,000 to support mariners served by the Institute’s Ministry on the Rivers and Gulf program. SCI presented the River Bell Award to Peter H. Stephaich, Chairman and CEO of Campbell Transportation Company, Inc.; and to the Chairman of J. Russell Flowers, Inc., J. Russell Flowers, SCI conferred the River Legend Award.
WCI Applauds Barge Diesel Fuel User Fee Increase
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) and its members and stakeholders applauded the Senate’s passage, by a vote of 76 to16, of a 9-cent increase to the barge diesel fuel user fee. The provision was a part of tax extenders legislation that was combined with the “Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE)” Act that establishes tax-favored savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. The ABLE Act that included the provision to increase the user fee by 9 cents passed the House on December 3 by a vote of 404-17.
WCI Applauds Passage of New Barge Tax
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) and its members and stakeholders tonight applauded the Senate’s passage, by a vote of 76 to16, of a 9-cent increase to the barge diesel fuel user fee. The provision was a part of tax extenders legislation that was combined with the “Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE)” Act that establishes tax-favored savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. The ABLE Act that included the provision to increase the user fee by 9 cents passed the House on December 3 by a vote of 404-17.
WRRDA: Clearing the Channel for P3 Projects
Earlier this year, the U.S. maritime industry in general, and the inland waterways industry in particular, celebrated the long-awaited passage of the Water Resources, Reform and Development Act of 2014. Among the accomplishments of this legislation were provisions to address the funding needs of the ever-worsening condition of the inland waterways infrastructure. Among these provisions are Sections 2004 and 5014 of WRRDA. Of the two provisions, the public-private partnership (P3) pilot program under Section 5014 has received substantially more attention in the maritime press and at industry conferences than have the studies of federally tax-exempt bonds and potential sources of additional revenue for the IWTF under Section 2004.
Sen. McConnell Named Champion of Maritime
Kentucky ranks top five in nation for U.S. Today, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was named a Champion of Maritime by the American Maritime Partnership (AMP), the voice of the domestic maritime industry. As U.S. Senate Minority Leader, McConnell has consistently supported the critical role the domestic maritime industry and the Jones Act play in America’s national, economic and homeland security. McConnell’s home state of Kentucky ranks fifth in the nation in per capita domestic maritime jobs, according to a recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for the Transportation Institute.
Port of Pittsburgh Taps Martinko as Executive Director
The Port of Pittsburgh Commission (PPC) announced today that Mr. Stephen Martinko will be the Commission's new executive director. Since January, 2013, Martinko has been the deputy staff director of the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and previously served as chief of staff for U.S. Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA). Martinko was instrumental in the development of the Water Resources and Reform Development Act (WRRDA) that was signed into law by President Obama earlier this year.
WRRDA: Charting a New Course
Out of a Congress long on budgetary constraints and short on bipartisanship has come the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA)—and by wide margins, no less. In my more cynical moments, I am tempted to think that this is because the marine transportation industry is so invisible to most members of Congress that they do not consider it to be worth fighting over. My better self knows that WRRDA is here because our cause is just and our arguments compelling. (Chairman Shuster should receive a MacArthur Fellowship just for the drawing graphic, which is now everywhere. In case you missed it, check it out at http://transportation.house.gov/wrrda).
Come Together, Right Now …
Collaboration is a wonderful thing. And in Washington, DC, it seems to be a concept that has become more alien than ever before, with partisan politics that have gripped the nation’s capital. But teamwork is alive and well in the inland waterways industry when it comes to supporting the concept of increasing the amount of investment raised for lock and dam infrastructure on the inland system. Since 1986, commercial inland towing operators have been paying a user fee of 20-cents-per-gallon of fuel used while operating on the inland system that is deposited into the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF). Those monies are then matched by General Treasury dollars and spent for the purpose of new construction and major rehabilitation work on the inland waterways.
Civil Works Funding of U.S. Army Corps lauded
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) today praised the House Appropriations Committee’s Energy & Water Subcommittee approval, by unanimous voice vote, the FY ’15 appropriations bill that funds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program. Fiscal year 2015 funding for the Corps’ Civil Works mission is $5.493 billion, an increase of $25 million above the FY ’14 enacted level and nearly $1 billion ($959.5 million) above the President's budget request. *Navigation projects (undesignated) will receive an increase of $484 million above the Administration’s request.
AWO Praises Final WRRDA Agreement
AWO President & CEO Tom Allegretti issued a statement on behalf of U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge operators praising House and Senate leaders for their work in forging “critically needed” waterways infrastructure legislation and urged Congress to quickly pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act and send it to the President to be signed into law. “AWO is very pleased to see that the comprehensive legislation includes a number of important provisions of the Inland Waterways…
AWO Urged Action on Waterways Infrastructure
As part of the American Waterways Operators’ annual Barge-In, U.S. vessel owners, operators and mariners are fanning out all over Capitol Hill today visiting nearly 150 Congressional offices to talk about the industry’s top advocacy priorities and the industry’s important role as economic generators, safety leaders and environmental stewards. The group’s advocacy priorities this year include: ensuring final passage of needed water resources development legislation; garnering support for a uniform national federal framework for the regulation of ballast water and other vessel discharges…