The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 with a 412-to-4 vote. The bill now moves to the Senate where it awaits a vote.
Multiple agricultural organizations and groups applauded the House’s passage of the bill that would improve the reliability and efficiency of the U.S. inland waterways system.
The National Corn Growers Association praised the U.S. House of Representatives for its vote.
“We thank our representatives in the House for their near-unanimous support and work to ensure passage of this important legislation, which makes concrete steps toward repairing and improving our inland waterways,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre. “WRRDA is crucial to farmers as more than 60 percent of the nation’s grain exports are transported by barge. The locks and dams we depend upon to transport our cargoes today were built in the 1920s and 1930s. It is imperative that we improve this crucial infrastructure. The need is urgent; U.S. farmers and businesses rely upon this transportation channel. Infrastructure improvements fuel our domestic economy and improve our ability to compete in markets abroad.”
NCGA specifically thanked House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall, II (D-W.V.) for bringing this negotiated bill to the floor of House and for working to ensure its passage.
NCGA is also hopeful that 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 provided needed funds for the improvement and maintenance of the infrastructure on which they rely.
In addition, the American Farm Bureau Federation urged Congress to pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act.
“Passage of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act is a priority issue for the American Farm Bureau Federation and our 6 million members who depend on an efficient and reliable inland waterway system linked to competitive ports,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said.
“The ports, channels, locks, dams and other infrastructure that support our waterways transportation are vital to America’s ability to provide affordable agricultural products at home and abroad. WRRDA will bring $6 billion in total cost savings and important reforms to ensure the reliability and strength of our nation’s inland waterways and ports. It is imperative that Congress enact the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014.”
The Water Resources Reforms and Development Act of 2014 will put America’s inland waterways and port infrastructure on a solid and sustainable foundation to contribute to U.S. economic growth, jobs and global competitiveness for generations to come. The American Farm Bureau Federation strongly supports passage and is tracking this important vote as part of its annual Congressional Scorecard.
Last week, multiple national, state and local organizations signed a letter urging the passing of the WRDDA, including the Agricultural Retailers Association, NCGA, Farm Bureau, American Soybean Association, American Waterways Operators, Associated General Contractors of America, Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL, CIO, Cargill, CHS Inc. , The Fertilizer Institute, GROWMARK, Inc., International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, International Union of Operating Engineers, Laborers' International Union of North America, National Association of Manufacturers, National Association of Wheat Growers , National Barley Growers Association , National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Grain and Feed Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, National Sunflower Association, North America's Building Trades Unions, United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters, United Brotherhood of Carpenters, US Canola Association, US Chamber of Commerce, US Dry Bean Council, and the Waterways Council, Inc.