WCI remains opposed to the imposition of inland waterways tolls or lockage fees, and will oppose Public Private Partnerships (P3) intended to rehabilitate or construct inland locks and dams using a toll financing mechanism.
WCI is not opposed to properly-structured financing efforts to attract capital investment to the waterways. We believe we currently engage in a strong public-private partnership with the Corps of Engineers through the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. Commercial users of the inland waterways contribute substantial revenues to modernize the system and participate in making specific investment decisions. The industry successfully urged a 45% increase to the diesel fuel tax into the Trust Fund in 2015.
Businesses rely upon efficient, cost-competitive waterways transportation when making locational decisions. If the federal government enables private entities to charge tolls for waterways use, those farmers, producers, and shippers would find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Unlike tolled roads, waterways’ P3s remove the choice for users because there is only one river.
Tell Congress to reject efforts to authorize tolls or fees to finance P3s on the Inland Waterways Transportation system in favor of consistent federal policy and fundamental fairness.