Whitfield, Costello introduce bill to strengthen inland waterways infrastructure

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, with Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, this week filed the Waterways Are Vital for the Economy, Energy, Efficiency, and Environment Act of 2012 (WAVE4 Act) with bipartisan co-sponsorship. This act is designed, they said, to “ensure safe, dependable, cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable navigation on our nation’s inland waterway system.”

The WAVE4 Act requires, among other things, the use of objective criteria for the prioritization of essential construction and major rehabilitation projects and protects against cost overruns. 

Additionally, it revises the current cost sharing structure for inland waterways projects, reforms the Army Corps of Engineers internal project delivery process, and calls for additional contributions from the waterways industry to pay for these vital infrastructure investments.

“Efficient and reliable transportation of goods on our inland waterways is essential to economic development, job creation, and remaining competitive in the global marketplace,” Rep. Whitfield said in a statement. “Our aging infrastructure jeopardizes efficient waterborne commerce and highlights the need for the WAVE4 Act that will implement a comprehensive plan to improve project management and put in place an objective investment strategy that will prioritize our infrastructure needs.” 

Rep. Costello, lead Democratic co-sponsor, said, “This legislation represents a comprehensive effort among key stakeholders to more efficiently use the resources dedicated to improving our inland waterway system. Importantly, industry has committed to paying more to meet the maintenance challenges we face, and addressing how projects are prioritized should be a part of this process. We must continue the dialogue on how we accomplish these goals – our future economic growth depends on it.” 

Other co-sponsors include Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo., Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn., Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Ill., and Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala.. 

The text of the bill is here. The section-by-section analysis is available by clicking here.

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