With the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure, there is concern that a lock and dam failure would be catastrophic to the agriculture industry.
In 2007, Congress reauthorized the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) – that would have allowed for rehabilitation to the nation’s inland waterways system – but funding was never appropriated.
Paul Rohde, Waterways Council, Inc. vice president says Congress is working on another WRDA bill this year.
“On the Senate side we had a WRDA bill come out of Committee fairly quickly,” he says. “However, it didn’t include all of the provisions we would like to see – like the Capital Development Plan.”
That Capital Development Plan is actually included in legislation introduce by Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey known as the River Act. The River Act would increase the federal government’s investment in the region’s waterways and would also increase overall investment through the creation of additional revenue streams financed by the systems users.
“We’re hopeful that if we do get a WRDA bill on the floor, which could be as early as Wednesday of this week, that we can get enough support from our Senate friends to include that Casey bill language into a WRDA bill,” he says.