President Obama and DOT Secretary Foxx Visit Port of New Orleans; Mention Value of Waterways

Waterways Council Release
8 November 2013

Today, President Obama and Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx visited the Port of New Orleans to underscore the importance of the nation’s transportation network to growth in exports.   The President referenced the importance of the waterways in moving commerce, a victory for the inland industry.

The White House briefing paper issued before the visit addressed the river’s role: "…providing more than $230 million of resources to the Mississippi River Valley to support flood and drought related dredging: As part of the Administration's efforts to help the Mississippi River valley recover from recent flooding and droughts that can impede travel throughout the region, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has provided more than $150 million on flood-related dredging and more than $80 million for drought-related dredging and rock blasting throughout the Mississippi River valley since 2011.

The Obama administration's investments in the Port of New Orleans have helped New Orleans expand its export base significantly, supporting the region's workforce and helping businesses up and down the Mississippi River Valley. Last year, more than 62 million tons of goods - like corn, wheat and coal - moved through the Port of New Orleans.  Since 2009, exports moving through the New Orleans region have increased 140%, including a 20% increase in the last year alone. This makes New Orleans one of the fastest growing metro regions for exports in the country. And, because of these investments to more efficiently move cargo, New Orleans is now more able to take advantage of major opportunities like the expansion of the Panama Canal, scheduled to be completed in 2015.”

The President noted that the waterways moved corn from his home state of Illinois and that America was “blessed with the best natural resources plus waterways”. This recognition of the value of inland waterways comes on the heels of the Administration's Statement of Policy in support of House passage of H.R. 3080, The Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).