In 2016, with the passage of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, of which the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA 2016) was included, water resources legislation returned to a regular, biennial process, which WCI applauds.
Currently, a portfolio of 25 high priority inland projects at a total estimated cost of $8.8 billion are under construction or waiting to begin construction. At the current funding rate, many of these projects will not begin construction in the next 20 years. Commercial towing operators pay up to 50% of the costs of construction and major rehabilitation of the inland waterways system that is matched by Federal dollars. In WRDA 2018, WCI urges consideration of a cost-share policy change for funding construction, similar to what was done in WRDA 2016 for deep-draft coastal ports. By doing the same thing for the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, the inland navigation capital program could remain operating at or above the $400 million level that has been achieved since the cost-share change that occurred for the Olmsted project in WRRDA 2014.
Support WRDA 2018: Returning water resources bills to an every two-year cycle, Congress ended with a WIIN in WRDA 2016 and we await a final vote on WRDA in 2018. On September 13, 2018 by voice vote, the House passed the WRDA 2018 bill, known as America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. We await a final Senate vote on the measure ahead.
–does not include authorization language to allow for lockage fees and/or tolls on the inland waterways system. WCI has been adamantly opposed to any additional taxation, tolling, or lockage fees for the inland waterways transportation system.
–authorizes 12 Chief’s Reports, including one that will be funded by the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (Three Rivers in Southeast, AR).
–authorizes three project modifications, including the Post Authorization Change Report for Chickamauga Lock. This will ensure that the Chickamauga project can continue construction once the project has reached its original authorized amount.
–directs the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to evaluate the current organizational structure of the Corps’ Civil Works function, to identify impediments to efficient project delivery, and to provide recommendations to Congress.
Letters of Support: WRDA
WRDA policies are critical to our nation’s inland waterways, which provide and sustain more than a half-million jobs, support exports, and protect the environment. The waterways help relieve traffic congestion, and are the safest, most energy-efficient mode of surface transportation. Waterways are vital to our agriculture, manufacturing and energy sectors. Before passage of the 2016 bill, the 2014 Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) was signed into law after a seven-year delay. WRDA/WRRDA bills have strong bi-partisan support in Congress to authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to perform various water-related, water resources projects within their Civil Works mission.
Letters of Support: Navigation & Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP)
- House of Representatives letter signed by 41 Members from 10 states sent to Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) R.D. James urging PED funding for NESP in the Corps’ FY2019 Work Plan and to complete a NESP economic update the Corps’ FY2018 Work Plan (September 27, 2018)
- Senate “Dear Colleague” letter signed by 10 Senators from seven states sent to OMB Director Mulvaney requesting PED funding for NESP in FY 2019 (December 22, 2017)
- House “Dear Colleague” letter signed by 40 House Members sent to OMB Director Mulvaney requesting PED funding for NESP in FY 2019 (November 29, 2017)
- 2018 Navigation & Ecosystem Sustainability Program Fact Sheet
2018 NESP Fact Sheet
- 2017 Infrastructure Report Card by the American Society of Civil Engineers
Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap
- The Capital Development Plan
Inland Marine Transportation Systems (IMTS) Capital Projects Business Model
- Instead of removing toxic waste seeping into Illinois' only scenic river, power company wants to wall it off with rocksSep 12, 2018 - Chicago Tribune
- Corps budget allocates $76.5 million this year for building new Chickamauga LockJun 13, 2018 - Chattanooga Times/Free Press
- Four-year study to prevent future erosion along Great LakesMay 31, 2018 - Niagara Gazette
- 7-foot boa found near Lock and Dam 13 Oct 5, 2018 - Clinton Herald
- Money Flowing to Lower Mon Work to Replace Aging Locks and Dams Sep 14, 2018 -
- Instead of removing toxic waste seeping into Illinois' only scenic river, power company wants to wall it off with rocks Sep 12, 2018 - Chicago Tribune