Page 51: of Marine News Magazine (September 2020)
INLAND WATERWAYS operators and shippers reliability. An increase in funding over the last ? ve years for operation and maintenance provided by Congress has also been extremely helpful. Maintenance of critical infrastructure will always remain a high priority across every mode of transportation.
Overall, how would you rate the Trump
Administration for its efforts to address inland infrastructure needs? What have been some of the successes and failures?
The inland waterways have several champi- ons within the United States Congress. Con- gress, regardless of party, has continued to in- vest in the inland waterways over the last seven ? scal years, whether through the appropria- tions or authorization process. On the appro- priations front, over the last two years Congress has adjusted the cost-share for Chickamauga © Jonathan / Adobe Stock
Lock to ensure that all four top priority naviga- tion construction projects could receive ef? cient funding. Unfortunately, no business discussion today can be
Ef? ciently funding these construction projects remains a had without discussing COVID-19. Can you provide high priority because it allowed for the Olmsted Locks and insight on how this business interruption event has,
Dam project to become operational four years ahead of its and will impact inland marine operations?
“adjusted” schedule. The Lower Mon project is estimated The inland waterways industry has shown that it is to become operational in 2023, which is four years ahead not immune to COVID-19. Signi? cant precautions have of schedule. Kentucky Lock is estimated to become op- been taken by companies to keep their employees safe and erational three years ahead of schedule, and Chickamauga healthy. The Inland Waterways User Board announced at is estimated to become operational four years ahead of its meeting in July that IWTF fuel receipts are down for schedule. This success will continue or improve if Con- FY20 as a result of the COVID-related economic down- gress adopts WCI’s top priority of adjusting the cost-share turn. The receipts were tracking almost identically to FY19 in the WRDA 2020 bill. until February, when we saw almost a ? at line. Expected total projections may be signi? cantly lower than FY19.
Please describe the takeaways (both good and bad) and potential impacts from America’s Water While much of the chatter around COVID-19 is
Infrastructure Act 2020? negative, if nothing else it has illustrated the im-
WCI’s top priority of adjusting the cost-share for con- portance of supply chains and the maritime indus- struction and major rehabilitation of projects is included in try’s role in an ef? cient, cost-effective means to the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020. The cost- bring products to markets. From where you sit, is share is adjusted to 65% general fund revenue/35% Inland this message getting through to legislators?
Waterways Trust Fund. If this adjustment is enacted into As the Department of Homeland Security early pointed law, it could potentially provide an additional billion dol- out in the COVID-19 crisis, maritime workers are essen- lars toward construction and major rehabilitation of in- tial. The commerce this nation depends upon moves on land waterways modernization projects. Currently, there the inland waterways in the most cost-competitive, envi- are 18 modernization projects that are valued at just over ronmentally friendly, traf? c congestion-relieving, and saf- $8 billion, and by adjusting the cost-share, these projects est way. Congressional champions believe in the inland will signi? cantly be expedited toward completion. waterways and will ? ght for it now and in the future.
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