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Short Sea Shipping - Pacific Coast Marine Highways

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  • Pacific Merchant Marine Council
    From my 2010 Year End Letter: For 2010 our council theme/byword was 2010 - YEAR OF THE SEAFARER. Seafarers and seafaring is always a primary concern within
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 16, 2010
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      From my 2010 Year End Letter:


      "For 2010 our council theme/byword was "2010 - YEAR OF THE SEAFARER." Seafarers and seafaring is always a primary concern within our council and 2011 will be no exception. It is just that we will reorient our focus for next year. For 2011 it will be Pacific Coast Short Sea Shipping. Or Pacific Coast Marine Highways. In other words, the short haul movement of goods by maritime means. Nothing against the railroads or trucks, but we will address getting more commerce moving along coastal waters and inland waterways."


      I will acknowledge not all members are interested in this subject but if you are and would like to serve on this yet to be formed council committee, please let me know.


      We welcome Stas Margaronis, who's council membership is being processed by NLUS. He shares our vision. His firm is Green Ships, www.greenships.org, and www.greenships.org/blog. Stas has done yeoman's work on this subject. We appreciate and thank him for his efforts! You are urged to visit these two sites. Also see his Santa Maria Shipping, website: http://www.santamariashipping.com. Those on Facebook and Linkedin, besides linking up with me and the council there can also link up with Stas.


      Below I have highlighted that California's Senator Barbara Boxer is in the thick of this.  Additional information is available on the committee hearing November 17th.


      Heave Ho for Marine Highways!



      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2010 1:28 PM
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      by Carlo Salzano



      Inland waterways must implement improved program


      Matt Woodruff, director of government affairs for Kirby Corp., a major inland tank-barge operator in the United States, testified Nov. 17 on the need to modernize the nation’s inland waterways infrastructure.

      Appearing at a hearing held by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Woodruff said the nation has “an aging system that needs recapitalization. We have a project funding and delivery system that is too inefficient, resulting in much wasted time and money.”

      Affirming his support of the recommendations of the Inland Marine Transportation System (IMTS) Capital Investment Strategy Team (CIST or CIS Team), Woodruff, who also is a member of the Inland Waterways Users Board, general counsel of Waterways Council Inc., and a director of the American Waterways Operators, said the team’s plan would pave the way for “significant modernization of the inland waterway system.” Without the plan, he said, “necessary achievable progress completing lock and dam and channel improvement projects will languish, dangerously threatening our nation’s well-being.”

      The team proposed a $7.6 billion 20-year inland waterway capital investment program, which represents an annual investment level of $380 million, including $320 million for construction projects and $60 million for major rehabilitation projects.

      The team’s proposal would preserve the existing 50 percent industry/50 percent federal cost-sharing formula for new lock construction and for major rehabilitation projects costing $100 million or more.

      Other witnesses at the hearing called by its chairman, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), included Jim Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers’ Association, who urged Congress to pass the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and incorporate S. 3213, the Harbor Maintenance Act of 2010, into it.

      “We are on the verge of a national navigation heart attack,” Weakley said. “We need to revive our dying infrastructure with the angioplasty of dredging and maintain it with a healthy maintenance diet.” The maintenance act, which has been in Boxer’s committee since last April, requires all of the deposits in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund available in any fiscal year to be used that year solely for harbor maintenance programs.


      About the author

      Carlo Salzano has been in journalism since graduating from La Salle University in 1948 as a chemistry major. That's right, chemistry. He began his career as a copy boy at the Philadelphia Inquirer, before moving on to United Press International in Philadelphia, Charleston, West Virgina, Baltimore and Washington. After 14 years, Carlo joined Traffic World magazine and stayed on for 23 years, retiring as editor in 1990. A majority of Carlo’s time at Traffic World was spent covering the maritime community and he continued on in the maritime field while freelancing throughout his "retirement." He is married and has three children and eight grandchildren.








      December 2010


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      Full Committee hearing entitled, "Water Resources Development Act: Legislative and Policy Proposals to Benefit the Economy, Create Jobs, Protect Public Safety and Maintain America’s Water Resources Infrastructure" (Rescheduled from September 30th).
      Wednesday, November 17, 2010
      10:00 AM EST
      EPW Hearing Room - 406 Dirksen

      Majority Statements
      Barbara Boxer

      Minority Statements
      James M. Inhofe

      Opening Remarks

      Panel 1
      Mr. Matt Woodruff
      Director, Government Affairs, Kirby Corporation and Member, Inland Waterways Users Board
      Mr. Jim Weakley
      Lake Carriers' Association
      Mr. Steve Verigin, P.E., G.E.
      Vice President, GEI Consultants, Inc. and Member, National Committee on Levee Safety
      Mr. Lawrence Roth
      Senior Vice President, ARCADIS U.S., Inc.
      On behalf of the American Society of Civil Engineers





















      Statement of Barbara Boxer
      Hearing: Full Committee hearing entitled, "Water Resources Development Act: Legislative and Policy Proposals to Benefit the Economy, Create Jobs, Protect Public Safety and Maintain America’s Water Resources Infrastructure" (Rescheduled from September 30th).
      Wednesday, November 17, 2010


      (Remarks as prepared for delivery)

      Today’s hearing will examine proposals for maintaining our ports, keeping our waterways open for commerce, protecting our citizens from storms and floods, and restoring our most precious ecosystems.

      This is the second hearing held by the EPW Committee as we continue to develop the next Water Resources Development Act. The projects included in WRDA are vitally important to keeping our communities safe and our economy moving.

      Prior to 2007, WRDA had not been passed in seven years, but we built overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate to enact the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 over President Bush’s veto. That bill allowed many critical projects across the country to proceed.

      I look forward to working with Senator Inhofe and colleagues on both sides of the aisle to develop the next Water Resources Development Act.

      The projects, policies, and programs authorized in WRDA are essential components of creating jobs and keeping our economy growing.

      For example, today we will hear about proposals to increase investment in our nation’s ports and inland waterway navigation channels. Ensuring our port and inland waterway infrastructure is adequately maintained is absolutely critical to the nation’s economic success. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, in 2008, U.S. ports handled over $1.6 trillion in commerce and U.S. ports and waterways moved nearly 2.5 billion tons of cargo.

      Maintaining our ports is especially important in my home state of California. The ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland are among the top ten ports in the nation by the amount of container cargo shipped. These and many other important California ports support economic activity representing hundreds of thousands of jobs and tens of billions dollars.

      Past WRDA bills have authorized projects to build and maintain ports across the country. Now we must ensure that we invest in these projects so that our ports are properly maintained and can continue to support the billions of dollars of commerce and thousands of jobs that depend on them.

      A bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation to ensure revenues collected for harbor maintenance activities are invested in our ports. I support these efforts and believe increasing investment in harbor maintenance should be a focus of the next WRDA bill.

      Our witnesses today will also discuss steps we can take to improve the safety of the nation’s thousands of miles of levees.

      As we write the next WRDA bill, improving the nation’s levees will be one of our top priorities. In California, many communities such as Sacramento face considerable flood risk and rely on their levees for protection. WRDA is needed to allow critical enhancements to the levees surrounding Sacramento’s Natomas basin to move forward.

      In WRDA 2007, we established a National Committee on Levee Safety and directed that Committee to develop recommendations for a national levee safety program. The Committee’s recommendations called for comprehensive and consistent national leadership on levee safety, strong levee safety programs in all states, and alignment of existing Federal programs. These are important goals that the next WRDA bill can help to achieve.

      Investment in the nation’s water resources creates jobs and provides benefits to American families and businesses every day.

      Moving forward on a Water Resources Development Act would provide the opportunity to advance important projects and programs, create jobs, and promote long-term prosperity.

      # # #

      Statement of James M. Inhofe
      Hearing: Full Committee hearing entitled, "Water Resources Development Act: Legislative and Policy Proposals to Benefit the Economy, Create Jobs, Protect Public Safety and Maintain America’s Water Resources Infrastructure" (Rescheduled from September 30th).
      Wednesday, November 17, 2010

      Thank you, Madam Chairman, for holding this hearing, and thank you to all the witnesses for joining us this morning.  We’ve been trying to hold this hearing for several months now, and I’m happy it’s finally happening.  The Chairman and I have worked together to develop a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2010, but it looks like we are not going to have enough time to finish it this Congress.  I hope to continue working in a bipartisan fashion to ensure we pass a WRDA next year.
      At our first WRDA hearing in May, we heard from witnesses who spoke of the short- and long-term economic benefits of investments in our water resources infrastructure.  Today’s hearing will focus on legislative and policy recommendations for the next WRDA, including levee safety, investment in our inland waterways system and maintenance of our ports and harbors.
      As anyone who has heard me speak before about infrastructure well knows, I strongly support federal investment in public infrastructure.  In fact, I believe it is one of two areas where the federal government should spend money, the other being national defense, of course.  We have significant water resources needs across the country, but we aren’t dedicating the funds necessary to address them.
      Let me be clear, though, that I am not advocating for simply increasing overall spending.  Instead, I support making infrastructure spending a greater percentage of overall spending.  I look forward to discussing how we can do that with the witnesses here today.
      WRDA 2007 included establishment of a committee on levee safety, to be composed of federal, state, local, tribal and private sector experts and charged with making recommendations on how best to structure a national levee safety program.  In January 2009 that committee made public a report with a number of recommendations that I believe deserve further discussion.  It is important that we get a program started soon, but also important to make sure we don’t rush through the numerous and complex issues involved and that a national levee safety program does not set unrealistic expectations for levels of federal funding. 
      Moving to the topic of the inland waterways system, I know I’ve used this example before, but it bears repeating: the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System is very important to the national economy and to the economy of my home state.  Currently, the Tulsa Port of Catoosa alone is the location of more than 60 companies employing nearly 3,000 employees.  We must figure out a way to continue investing in this important aspect of our economy.
      The Inland Waterways Users Board, working with the Corps of Engineers, undertook a thorough review of the current process used for investing in our system.  The Board developed a comprehensive set of recommendations aimed at not just increasing our investments, but also at making any level of investment more efficient and effective.  Many of these recommendations may be appropriate for inclusion in the next WRDA.
      Maintenance of our ports and harbors is unfortunately another underfunded activity.  I can understand the frustration on this issue since a specific tax is collected to be used to fund these activities.  Instead, approximately half of yearly revenues are spent as intended while the rest is counted as offsetting the deficit.  That is not fair or honest, especially when so much maintenance is left unfunded.
      I do have a concern with the legislation introduced to address this issue, however, and that is that it likely would lead to decreased funding for other activities of the Corps that are already underfunded as well.  If we can find a way to address the needs of our ports without negatively impacting our other water resources needs, I would be very supportive.
      Before I finish, I want to acknowledge all the work done so far.  I know that a lot of people have put a great deal of time and effort into studying these three issues and developing recommendations.  I want to say thank you to everyone involved.  We still have some work to do, but I look forward to continuing to work together with my colleagues, the witnesses and their colleagues to address these issues during development of the next Water Resources Development Act.

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