The National Corn Growers Association praised the U.S. Senate for its vote today passing the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 with a 91-to-7 vote. Now, NCGA urges the President to sign this final reauthorization bill into law and thus improve the reliability and efficiency of the U.S. inland waterways system. “Today, our representatives in the Senate took a concrete step toward repairing and improving our inland waterways through a vote that again showed overwhelming bipartisan approval for WRRDA,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre. “We must improve our infrastructure, and we must do it now. Our locks and dams transport our cargoes today but were built in the 1920s and 1930s to accommodate far smaller loads and far less river traffic. For farmers in particular, it is crucial as more than 60 percent of the nation’s grain exports are transported by barge. The need is urgent; U.S. farmers and businesses rely upon this transportation channel to create economic opportunities at home and supply markets abroad.”
NCGA specifically thanks the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, notably Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Ranking Member David Vitter (R-Okla.), for bringing this negotiated bill to the floor of the Senate and for working to ensure its passage.
NCGA also hopes Congress will soon address a proposed increase to the diesel fuel user fee which would provide additional revenue to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. By increasing this tax between six and nine cents per gallon of fuel, the industries using the waterways would be able to provide needed funds for the improvement and maintenance of the infrastructure on which they rely.
For additional information on the content of the bill, click here.