Waterways Council praises House panel's funding for Army Corps

The following is the text of a news release from the Waterways Council Inc.:

(ARLINGTON, Va.) — 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.

According to subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, highlights include:

— Navigation projects (undesignated) will receive an increase of $484 million above the administration’s request.
— Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) supported projects received an increase of $112 million or a total of $281 million for priority projects in FY ’15. As is normally the case, project-specific details are being withheld until the full committee marks up the bill. The expectation is that the bill will be considered there next week.
— Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) spending will increase by $185 million above the administration’s request.
— Inland operations and maintenance (O&M) will increase by $45 million over the administration’s request.
— There are no new starts or earmarks in the bill.

“Today is momentous for the inland waterways, but also for Americans who rely upon the critical cargoes that are transported on our rivers. We witnessed the signing of the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) 2014 into law by the president, and received strong House FY ’15 appropriations funding levels for the Corp of Engineers’ important work,” said Michael Toohey, WCI president/CEO. “Congress acted on WRRDA, the president signed the bill into law, and House appropriators are now funding our waterways’ infrastructure appropriately in order to increase exports, sustain and grow jobs, and keep America’s goods moving to market.”

Waterways Council Inc. is the national public policy organization advocating for a modern and well-maintained national system of ports and inland waterways. The group is supported by waterways carriers, shippers, port authorities, agriculture, labor and conservation organizations, shipping associations and waterways advocacy groups from all regions of the country. Visit www.waterwayscouncil.org.     

By Professional Mariner Staff