Fixing up the U.S. locks and dams has a strong bipartisan effort from Congress, and it looks as though the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) might be complete by May.
Both the House and Senate passed the bill in the Fall of last year and the bill now stands in conference with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. One of the current sticking factors is the proposed increase in user fees to raise funds for construction and improvements. The Congressional difference regarding tax legislation hasn’t been included in WRDA.
Waterways Council President Mike Tooey says WRDA and the user fees increase are a necessity to the modernization of the the waterways. There are nearly 12,000 miles of U.S. waterways used in commercial industry. Iowan waterways on the Mississippi are very outdated, most are 10 to 30 years past their design life.