Senate passes WRRDA; ag groups supportive
“The American Farm Bureau Federation and our 6 million member families have long championed an efficient and reliable inland waterway system linked to competitive ports. We’re pleased that Congress recognizes that 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.
“We urge President Obama to swiftly sign this important bill into law.”
Other organizations supportive of the Senate's passage of WRRDA is the National Wheat Growers Association and the National Corn Growers Association.
“NAWG is pleased with the passage of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014,” said NAWG President Paul Penner, a wheat farmer from Hillsboro, Kan., “The near unanimous support the bill received in both the House and Senate signals how vital our inland waterways system is; both to America’s wheat farmers, who export nearly half the wheat that is grown domestically, and to our nation’s economy as a whole.” WRRDA seeks to increase funding for waterway development projects, such as deepening waterways and lock and dam repairs and upgrades. The bill is especially important to America’s wheat farmers, who rely onmany inland waterways to ship their wheat to port before being exported abroad."
The National Corn Growers Association specifically thanked 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.
“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 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.