River Navigation Coalition July 2003 News Letter

To: RNC Members, Marinas, Businesses, Municipalities, and all Supporters of Recreational and Commercial Navigation on Pittsburgh's Three Rivers

With two years under our belt representing the navigational interests of both commercial and recreational boaters on the three rivers in the Pittsburgh District of the Corps of Engineers, not only has our membership grown dramatically but we have been successful in becoming known as the organization that is fighting to preserve the locks for all navigators.

The RNC now represents over 1500 river navigators. including marinas and river dependant businesses.

We have gained the support of some 25 municipalities, with more resolutions of municipal support being sent to us each month. We also have the support of The Pittsburgh Safe Boating Council, the Professional Marine Operators Association, The Tri River Rowing Association ,The Power Squadron, and Boaters Are Voters, as well as many other river and recreational boating associations.

We are currently working with representatives from the following political offices researching all possibilities for additional funding, new legislation that would alter the Corps' Mandate to include the word recreation, searching for grants and/or appropriations for new technology up to and including the automation of the locks.

Congressman John Murtha, Senator Arlen Specter, Senator Rick Santorum, Congressman Mike Doyle, Congresswomen Melissa Hart, Congressman Tim Murphy, Congressman Phil English

We are working with the Corps of Engineers and have proposed a schedule of operation that would suite both commercial and recreational navigators. We have suggested other cost saving alternatives to current operations and we are working hard to alter the Corps or Engineers proposed 2004 schedule of operations that proposes many service cuts.

We are working with the media to promote public awareness of the critical lock issues that, if let unchecked, will be devastating to businesses that thrive and depend on American's #1 family pass time - fishing and recreational boating.

Our observations have resulted in the following recommendation to the Corns, as ways to increase operational hours at no cost. 1) Changing work shifts by going to 4 days @ 10 hour shift, increasing sing operational hours at no additional cost, 2) Changing the job description of the locks equipment mechanics to include locking boats, resulting in additional operational personnel at no additional cost, 3) Doing away with overlapping shifts and adding the additional time on to the total operating hours, resulting in additional operational hours at no cost, 4) The invention of the Corp of Engineers Auxiliary, a volunteer organization to assist lock operators with lockages.

We leave suggested the following, as ways to fund future operations and maintenance of locks on low tonnage rivers.

1) The institution of a users fee for Recreational boaters using the locks on the Allegheny and Mon Rivers, 2) Having the Federal Government partner with the States of Pennsylvania and West Virginia to gain additional state funding to support lock operation for both recreational and commercial navigators, 3) The institution of a gas tax placed on recreational boaters to be used for lock maintenance and operation, 4) The addition of recreational boating to the Corps of Engineer mandate as a purpose for the locks and dam, 5) The Automation of the locks to allow operations from a remote location.

The River Navigation Coalition is a non-profit organization and is working on your behalf to keep our
river's navigable channels open and maximize the hours of lock operation for all users.

Please renew your membership today!