The following is text of a news release from the Waterways Council Inc. (WCI):
(WASHINGTON) — The Waterways Council Inc. on Wednesday commended the Senate for its overwhelming approval (by a vote of 99-1) of S. 3021 (115), America's Water Infrastructure Act, which includes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018 that authorizes Army Corps of Engineers' work on locks and dams, dredging and other water resources projects. The bill now heads to the president’s desk for signature into law. The House passed the WRDA legislation by voice vote last month.
• Does not include any authorization language that would allow for lockage fees and/or tolls on the inland waterways system. The WCI continues to be opposed to additional taxation, tolling, lockage fees or adverse changes in cost-sharing 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 Arkansas).
• Authorizes three project modifications, including the Post Authorization Change Report (PACR) for Chickamauga Lock. This will ensure that Chickamauga 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 Civil Works function of the Corps, to identify impediments to efficient project delivery, and to provide recommendations to Congress.
“The passage of WRDA 2018 is a win for the nation’s towboat operators, freight shippers, ports, and labor and conservation groups that rely on an efficient inland waterways system," said WCI President and CEO Mike Toohey. "WCI is deeply appreciative for the bipartisan leadership and steadfast commitment that Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso and ranking member Tom Carper, and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and ranking member Peter DeFazio, have shown to keep the WRDA process running biannually to strong passage into law. This bill strengthens our nation’s vital inland waterways transportation system, will create and sustain American jobs, increase exports, and keep the United States competitive in world markets.”