WCI praises House panel's action on WRDA

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

(WASHINGTON) — The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday marked up its version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 2016. 

Specifically, the committee:

• Rejected lockage fees/tolls to finance public-private partnerships (P3s), and we thank the members of the committee and the 75 organizational signers of the P3 letter urging that a lockage fee/tolling proposal for the Illinois Waterway not be included in WRDA; 

• Authorized 28 projects with a chief of engineers report, including Brazos Island Harbor ($116 million federal, $135 million non-federal) and $16.7 million for modification work on Calcasieu Lock in Louisiana;

• Encourages the secretary to expedite certain chief’s reports and continue onto preconstruction engineering and design. The Upper Ohio River feasibility study was included in this list.

• Returns to regular order with WRDA bills every two years;

• Rep. John Duncan Jr., R-Tenn., and Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., offered a bipartisan amendment, supported by WCI, to change the definition of a major rehabilitation project. The amendment was withdrawn after the committee leadership promised to work to address the issue in subsequent negotiations.

"WCI is grateful for the leadership of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, ranking member Peter DeFazio, subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs, and ranking member Grace Napolitano for moving this WRDA bill forward. We offer a special thank you to Congressman John Duncan and Congressman Dan Lipinski for offering an amendment to adjust the threshold to what constitutes a major rehabilitation project," said WCI President/CEO Michael Toohey.

By Professional Mariner Staff