AASHTO Issues Waterborne Freight Transportation Report

AASHTO Release Calls For More Funding Certainty For Inland River Locks In WRDA

21 June 2013

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)  has just released a report, “Waterborne Freight Transportation Bottom Line Report,”  that urges Congress to enact a WRDA that increases harbor dredging, and improves inland navigation locks and dams.  The report doesn’t mention specifics on how to increase investment in the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, but AASHTO calls for states and stakeholders to have more “funding certainty,” and is urging a goal of achieving a "state of good repair" for the marine transportation system by 2020. Here is the report. (http://water.transportation.org/Pages/water_reports.aspx)

“We are calling for action … by Congress to improve silt-choked seaports and aging river locks,” said Sean Connaughton, Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Connaughton heads AASHTO's water transportation committee and is the former head of the U.S. Maritime Administration under President George W. Bush.

AASHTO is also advocating for Congress to create an Office of Multimodal Freight at the Department of Transportation (DOT) to give that agency a larger role in seaport and inland waterways issues.  According to press reports, Connaughton said, “This proposed DOT office would not take over waterway development and oversight from the Corps,” but would “map and classify marine facilities much like the DOT now does for the national highway system and try to coordinate policies among federal agencies.”