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VIDEO: Waterways a big part of Trump infrastructure plan

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Symbolically, President Trump used Ohio River as a backdrop for a speech launching his infrastructure initiative

JUNE 8, 2017 — President Donald Trump yesterday used the Ohio River as the backdrop for a major speech on his legislative agenda on infrastructure — and, drawing praise from the Waterways Council Inc., he made it clear that the waterways are very much part of those plans.

According to a White House release “America’s infrastructure is out of date and falling apart, particularly the internal waterways that are so vital for transporting the country’s goods.”

  • The waterways of the United States (notes the release) are vital for its industry and economic growth of the country, transporting everything from corn to steel and coal.
  • According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), our inland waterways delivered more than 575 million tons of cargo, valued at $229 billion.
  • According to the Department of Transportation, inland waterways support more than 270,000 jobs and $30.9 billion in economic activity.
  • 60 percent of the grain meant for export uses inland waterways to reach the Gulf of Mexico.
  • American steel production is entirely dependent on the inland waterways system.
  • Up to 25 percent of the country’s energy cargo, including coal, and petroleum, are moved on inland waterways.

The infrastructure of America’s inland waterways has been allowed to fall apart (continues the release), causing delays and preventing the United States from achieving its economic potential.

  • According to the ASCE, most of the locks and dams needed to travel the internal waterways are past their 50-year lifespan and nearly 50 percent of voyages suffered delays.
  • Our inland waterway system requires $8.7 billion in maintenance and the maintenance backlog is only getting worse.

The Waterways Council, Inc. released a statement saying:

WCI applauds President Trump’s visit to the heartland and for his speech today that will surely bring heightened attention to the investment needs of the inland waterways system. Our country has not seen this kind of leadership on infrastructure since President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1930s New Deal to build our locks and dams, or since the 1950s by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to construct the National Defense and Interstate Highway system. Today, Presidential leadership was demonstrated once again by emphasizing the importance of the inland waterways transportation system and this critical national infrastructure with the backdrop of the river itself. As President Trump said, the nation will rebuild Rivers, along with Roadways, Runways and Railways.

We applaud the President for committing his vast building experience to modernizing the inland waterways, and establishing a goal of completing projects on-time, on-budget, and removing regulatory impediments.

We stand ready and committed, and look forward, to working with the Administration to craft proposals that work equitably for the inland waterways, a critical part of the transportation supply chain and conduit to American exports.

Waterways Council, Inc. is the national public policy organization advocating for a modern and well-maintained national system of ports and inland waterways. The group is supported by waterways carriers, shippers, port authorities, agriculture, labor and conservation organizations, shipping associations and waterways advocacates.


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