Capitol Currents Newsletter

We've Only Just Begun

March 16, 2022

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We’ve Only Just Begun

By Tracy Zea, WCI President/CEO , Waterways Council, Inc.


Since November, Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) has been touting the $2.5 billion provided for inland waterways construction projects in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). After IIJA became law, WCI could only speculate and hope that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would follow the Capital Investment Strategy (CIS) since the infrastructure funds provided were not earmarked. 


Before the infrastructure funds were released, some people with institutional knowledge of the Corps of Engineers doubted that the Administration and the Corps would actually spend the full $2.5 billion right away and would instead slow-walk most of the funds, spreading them out over several years. WCI disagreed with that stance, choosing to work with our Congressional champions to lobby the Administration to fund navigation projects in the CIS to completion.


On January 19, the Administration released its Spend Plan to allocate funds to specific projects, and WCI could not have been happier with the results. The following projects were funded to completion: Kentucky Lock (Tennessee River), Montgomery Lock (Ohio River), Lock and Dam 25/Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) (Mississippi River), Three Rivers (Arkansas River), and T.J. O’Brien Major Rehabilitation (Little Calumet).


The $2.5 billion will fully fund one-third of the CIS to completion or five out of the 15 2020 CIS projects. To provide historical context, this is the same number of construction and major rehabilitation projects that have been funded to completion in the last 13 years, which includes additional funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). 


With the monies now allocated to projects, WCI is focused on the execution of their construction to completion and will continue to advocate for full use of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) to complete remaining and new projects on the CIS list (in no particular order): two locks of the Upper Ohio Project (Dashields and Emsworth), six NESP locks (Lock and Dam 24,22,21,20, LaGrange, and Peoria), McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) (12-foot Channel), and Gulf Intracoastal Waterway projects (Brazos River Floodgates and Colorado River Locks).


At a time when inflation is at its highest since 1982, supply chain disruptions and worker shortages continue, it will be essential that WCI's diverse coalition continues to work together to advocate with one voice as we have since our founding to produce effective legislative outcomes. There is a saying, “one band, one sound.”  For WCI, this means keeping the coalition advocating collectively for the CIS and not for individual regional priorities that can splinter the message. 


The infrastructure bill is something that everyone should be extremely proud of, but the work has only just begun.



On March 15th, the President signed the FY22 omnibus appropriations bill that includes overall funding for the Corps of Engineers at $8.3 billion. Highlights include: $149 million for Three Rivers, AR (funds project to completion), Community Project Funding (earmarks) for inland navigation construction projects of $12.8 million for Upper Ohio Navigation, and $45.1 million for NESP (to be split between navigation and ecosystem restoration), and $6.93 million for Preconstruction Engineering and Design (PED) for GIWW-Brazos River Floodgates and Colorado River Locks.



John Roberts Named President/CEO of Ingram


On February 1, John Roberts became President and CEO of Ingram Marine Group. He had previously served as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President.  This announcement came as David O’Loughlin retired from his role as CEO but will assist with the transition for the remainder of 2022 as Vice Chairman.


Mr. Roberts has more than 35 years of experience in the marine transportation industry and has been with Ingram since 2018. He previously worked as a Liquids Merchandising Manager from 1991-1994 until Ingram sold part of its liquids fleet to Coastal Towing. In the interim, he served as President of Florida Marine Transporters, LLC, among other executive roles in the barge industry.


Ingram Barge Company Chairman Orrin H. Ingram II said, “John’s vision and leadership are already helping shape where we are headed. Ingram is on a great trajectory, and with John’s ability to develop talent and build strong teams, he is absolutely the right choice for Ingram at this juncture.”


Legislator Profile


In this issue of Capitol Currents we roll out our inaugural Legislator Profile feature, where we take a closer look at elected officials who have championed inland waterways.


Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Springfield, is the 47th U.S. Senator from the State of Illinois, the state’s senior senator, and the convener of Illinois’ bipartisan congressional delegation.


Durbin also serves as the Senate Majority Whip, the second highest ranking position among the Senate Democrats. Senator Durbin has been elected to this leadership post by his Democratic colleagues every two years since 2005.


Durbin serves as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and sits on the Appropriations and Agriculture Committees. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate on November 5, 1996, and re-elected in 2002, 2008, 2014, and 2020.


He is married to Loretta Schaefer Durbin. Their family consists of three children--Christine (deceased), Paul, and Jennifer--as well as six grandchildren. They reside in Springfield.


Senator Durbin has been a tireless champion for inland waterways issues, culminating in the inclusion of funding to complete construction of the new chamber at Lock 25 on the Upper Mississippi River, starting the Navigation-Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP).




Biographical Facts


Name                           Richard J. Durbin


Born                             November 21, 1944 in East St. Louis, IL


Parents                        William Durbin and Ann Durbin (née Kutkin)


Family        Married to Loretta Schaefer Durbin 
Three children and six grandchildren


Occupation                 Attorney/Legislator


Education                    Assumption High School, East St. Louis, IL; Georgetown University, B.S., 1966; Georgetown University, J.D., 1969


Honorary Degrees          Millikin University, 1994; Lincoln College, 1997; Illinois Institute of Technology, 2003


Public Office               Jan. 1983 – Jan. 1997, U.S. House of Representatives;  Jan. 1997 – Present, U.S. Senate


Q: Senator Durbin, what prompted you to get into public service?  


I was fortunate enough to be a college intern for Senator Paul Douglas, one of the most outstanding men to serve the State of Illinois in the United States Senate.  Along with being a World War II veteran and economist, he was famously known as the conscience of the Senate.  He fought for transparency, ethics, and civil rights.  Paul Douglas showed me that politics can be an honorable profession.  He proved through his work that government can be a powerful force for good, and he’s a big reason why I have spent my life in public service.


Q: Who are your biggest influences?  


Along with Paul Douglas, another senator named Paul had an immense influence on my life – Senator Paul Simon.  He held the seat in the U.S. Senate that I now hold.  When I graduated Georgetown Law School, I moved back to Springfield and landed a job working for Paul Simon, who was then the Lt. Governor of Illinois.  Paul Simon was never afraid to stick his neck out for what he believed in, and he always served with honesty and integrity.  He was a true role model for what public service should look like. 


Q: Is Congressionally-Directed spending here to stay?


Congressionally-Directed Spending was brought back last year on a bipartisan basis, and it’s easy to see why.  Senators and Members of Congress know their states and districts better than federal agency bureaucrats in Washington, and Congressionally-Directed Spending allows Congress to target federal funds for important projects that create jobs and improve communities.  I have a long history of securing millions in federal funds for Illinois projects via Congressionally-Directed Spending.  I’m hopeful these important project-specific funds are here to stay, including in the final FY2022 appropriations package.


Q: NESP checks a lot of boxes with this Administration’s priorities. Putting people to work, providing jobs for people of all economic backgrounds (both construction and on towboats), improving what’s already the most environmentally-friendly mode of surface transportation, just to name a few.  With a start of NESP in the Infrastructure Plan, how can WCI members continue this progress of funding?


I’ve been advocating for NESP funding for more than 15 years and it’s encouraging to finally see significant federal funding for the program thanks to President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.  The $829 million in federal funding from the infrastructure bill for NESP will allow us to complete the expansion and modernization of Lock 25 and the fish passage ecosystem project at Lock 22, but there is plenty more work to be done.  I recently visited Peoria lock and dam in Creve Coeur, Illinois, which is one of the seven locks that will be modernized in the future as part of the NESP program.  NESP will ultimately double the capacity at the seven highest-use locks on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, ensuring that inland navigation remains the lowest-cost, and lowest carbon-producing, transportation method for commodities.  In the years ahead, I will continue working with the bipartisan coalition in Congress and broad coalition of stakeholders to secure more funding for the program.


 Q: What was the last great book you’ve read?


These Truths by Jill Lepore.


Sorry for the Wait: Inland Waterways Users Board Repopulated After Zero-Review Hiatus

By Dustin Davidson, WCI Director, Government Relations


Over the last year, many operators, shippers, and interested parties on the inland waterways have struggled to understand the circumstances surrounding the reinstatement and repopulation of the Inland Waterways Users Board (IWUB). Of the many questions, the most common was, “what’s going on, and why is it taking so long?”


At the start of each Presidential Administration, there is significant interest in reviewing Congressional advisory committees and their members to avoid negative impacts to federal investment and policy. President Biden opted for a “zero-based review” of all Department of Defense advisory committees and their members. This is an unusual but not unprecedented evaluation process.  The review began on February 20, 2021, but in the case of the IWUB, the timeline for review and approval seemed to become more unclear as each week passed.


But, with the support of the Corps’ Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations Major General Butch Graham, the Office of the Secretary of Defense Review Board approved the IWUB for reinstatement on July 9, 2022, paving the way for the Corps to begin soliciting interest from organizations to repopulate the Board.  Reinstatement of the IWUB was a positive step toward achieving this top priority for Waterways Council, Inc. However, the Department of Defense’s progress to repopulate the Board remained stalled for nearly eight months.


In that time, Congress worked to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) of 2021, which provided $2.5 billion in full federal funding for the construction of inland waterways locks and dams contained in the 2020 Capital Investment Strategy (CIS).  And while this was another victory for the industry, having no functioning IWUB dampened the win.  Without IWUB members, the industry could not fulfill its Congressional mandate to aid the Corps by advising on federal investment and updating the CIS list of navigation projects to continue modernizing the system for greater efficiency and reliability. For WCI, the stall of the IWUB was becoming a harbinger of challenges to come.


Fortunately, WCI and its legislative team strategized to call upon many Representatives, Senators, and Congressional staffers familiar with this issue to generate a critical mass of interest -- and frustration at the delay -- directed at the Department of Defense. As a result, with the help of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, we successfully achieved our collective goal of reinstatement and repopulation of the IWUB on February 1, 2022.


Now repopulated with member organizations, the Corps plans to hold the first IWUB 2022 meeting in mid-April in New Orleans. Although time-consuming, this is a significant victory for WCI and the industry. With one-third of the CIS fully funded, the IWUB and its members can now focus on achieving greater success in the coming years by moving projects from the study phase to construction with funds generated by the inland waterways industry and the IIJA.


WCI Member Spotlight: Maritime Partners, LLC


Maritime Partners, LLC (MP) is a leading provider of maritime leasing solutions, specializing in Jones Act trades. The New Orleans, Louisiana-based company, provides bespoke leasing services to operators across the full spectrum of credit quality.


Founded in 2015, the company’s portfolio has grown through a robust new construction program and numerous secondary-market acquisitions. As a result, the company’s fleet consists of a wide variety of state-of-the-art vessels, including tugboats, towboats, tank barges, hopper barges, deck barges, dry docks, and more.

In November 2021, MP acquired J. Russell Flowers, Inc., a diversified portfolio of over 1,000 inland marine vessels operating on bareboat charter. The acquisition brought MP’s fleet to nearly 1,600 vessels with an estimated fair market value of approximately $1.2 billion, making the firm the largest lessor of marine equipment in the country.


MP also continued to drive innovation in the maritime industry in 2021. “We want to help our customers successfully navigate the energy transition,” said co-founder and CEO Bick Brooks. “The winds of change are blowing, and we want to be at the forefront of that change.”


Hydrogen is considered the holy grail of zero-carbon energy, but its lack of density and gaseous nature create substantial distribution challenges which have prevented widespread adoption of hydrogen as a marine fuel thus far.

To solve these distribution challenges, MP and Element 1 Corp. and Ardmore Shipping Corporation formed a joint venture called e1 Marine. E1 Marine has developed technology that purifies hydrogen extracted from a mixture of methanol and water. Methanol is an ideal hydrogen “carrier” because it (i) is liquid at ambient temperature, (ii) is relatively safe, (iii) can be distributed in traditional fossil fuel infrastructure, and (iv)  contains more hydrogen than compressed hydrogen at 700 bar. The value of e1 Marine’s system is its ability to purify hydrogen at the point of consumption, thereby eliminating the logistical challenges associated with compressed hydrogen. Maritime Partners believes this technology is the “missing link” needed to enable hydrogen to be a commercially viable fuel for the maritime industry.


In December 2021, MP announced the M/V Hydrogen One, a groundbreaking towboat powered by the hydrogen purified by e1 Marine’s system onboard the vessel. The towboat will be built in Louisiana and is expected to enter service during the third quarter of 2023. The vessel will produce zero NOx, SOx, or particulate matter emissions and, when fueled with green methanol, the vessel produces zero CO2 emissions. Additionally, the vessel will meet the Coast Guard’s Subchapter M requirements and have an operational range of 550 miles before refueling.


The methanol-water mix that e1 Marine’s technology uses is six times more energy-dense than compressed hydrogen, enabling the towboat to meet the range and performance expectations of operators.

Methanol is a common cargo on the inland waterways and is available in 88 of the world’s top 100 ports. This widespread availability enables operators to refuel almost anywhere. Additionally, methanol can utilize existing fossil fuel infrastructure, which drastically reduces  its adoption cost.


“Shipowners have been understandably reluctant to commit to low-carbon fuels until the infrastructure is available to refuel their vessels,” said Austin Sperry, co-founder and President at MP. “The M/V Hydrogen One solves the distribution infrastructure problem by using methanol, which is safe and readily available worldwide. As a result, when the M/V Hydrogen One joins our fleet, it will provide not only excellent emissions reduction capabilities but also highly functional, reliable, and cost-effective operations.”


“America’s inland waterways system provides safe, reliable, and efficient transportation of the basic inputs of our economy. Disruptions on the inland waterways don’t just impact our industry, they reverberate throughout the economy. We are proud to be a member of WCI and to support the modernization of the inland waterways,” added Sperry.


Visit Maritime Partners at


Van Scoyoc Associates Joins WCI Lobby Team


This year, WCI retained the services of government relations firm Van Scoyoc Associates (VSA).  VSA was founded 30 years ago with three employees and eight clients.  Today, they have more than 50 employees and represent nearly 200 clients in nearly every state, work with nearly every Congressional office and Committee, and with nearly every federal department.


While their success has allowed VSA to grow, they have never forgotten where they started and the original secret to their success, which is why their clients continue to get personal attention from this small, entrepreneurial company.  WCI now relies on VSA’s wealth of knowledge, experience, and contacts of the entire firm to achieve its goals.


VSA has extensive experience working with the federal agencies that directly impact operations of those who benefit and rely on the nation’s inland waterways system, like the Army Corps of Engineers.  They also have strong working relationships with the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and other relevant committees.


Geoff Bowman, WCI’s team leader at Van Scoyoc Associates, worked at the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure from 2002 until 2017.  During that time, he got to know WCI and its members, as he was at the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, whose jurisdiction covered Water Resources Development Acts (WRDA), the Army Corps of Engineers, and the nation’s inland waterways system.


Chad Schulken came to VSA in January 2019 after serving more than a decade and a half as staff on the Senate Appropriations Committee.  During his 16-year tenure, he was involved in virtually every aspect of the development, negotiation, and passage of regular appropriations bills, war supplemental appropriations, disaster relief bills, and continuing resolutions.  Chad brings to the team not only expertise in policy and budgetary law, but in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of the appropriations and authorization process.


Carlisle Clarke joined VSA in 2019 as a Vice President after more than a decade on Capitol Hill. Most recently, he served as the Majority Clerk of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Related Agencies.  Between his professional experience and having grown up along the Mississippi River in the Mississippi Delta, Carlisle is well versed in the impacts that inland navigation can have on the nation’s agriculture economy.


Ashley Strobel joined VSA as a Manager of Government Relations in the fall of 2020. In her role at VSA, Ashley provides strategic and technical assistance for a variety of clients including municipalities, ports, water districts, and infrastructure associations.


Our nation is blessed with a network of more than 12,000 miles of inland navigation channels and its associated critical infrastructure. With a rapidly aging infrastructure platform and construction backlog, Congress has renewed its attention on Corps projects, programs, and activities in the last decade, and this is evidenced by an increasing annual budget of the agency, and the enactment of WRDA every two years since 2014. More importantly, Congress and the Administration, on a bipartisan basis, prioritized investment in the nation’s inland waterways infrastructure by including the $2.5 billion in funding in the IIJA, enabling the Corps to fund five projects to completion.  While it is clear WCI’s message continues to resonate with decision-makers in Washington, D.C., further education and outreach will need to take place to ensure this level of investment continues. With many of the navigation projects on the nation’s inland waterways system well past their design life, VSA looks forward to working with WCI to help guide Congressional and Administration investment decisions in the coming years.


Conservation column: WCI Member Luhr Brothers to Construct Habitat Restoration Project


The Corps of Engineers’ St. Louis District has begun work on a $7.2 million Mississippi River habitat restoration project near Grafton, IL with the help of WCI member Luhr Brothers, Inc. of Columbia, IL.  Luhr Brothers was contracted to construct the project in Pool 26, between Upper Mississippi River Miles 207.5 — 211.5, and the work began December 1, 2021.


The Corps has noted that activities  within the Upper Mississippi River basin over the past two centuries have altered the hydrology and biotic communities that exits in the floodplain and channel, reducing the diversity and quality of side channel and backwater habitat and acreage of island habitat located there.


The Corps is partnering with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources on the project, with funding from the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program.  It is intended to coordinate "the development and enhancement" of the Upper Mississippi River system with primary emphasis on habitat restoration projects and resource monitoring.


Project work includes constructing a river training structure between Piasa and Eagle's Nest Islands, located within the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Mississippi River State Fish and Wildlife Area. Piasa and Eagle's Nest Islands widely draw the public for hunting, fishing, boating, and viewing wildlife.  The project will also include the construction of four island rock rings. 


“Luhr Brothers is very happy to provide its services on this important ecological project for the Mississippi River Basin,” said Jay Luhr, President, Luhr Brothers.

National Waterways Foundation Releases Modal Comparison Study Update, Proving Again that Barges are Best


On January 20, the National Waterways Foundation (NWF) released the update of its commissioned study comparing selected impacts of utilizing inland waterways barge transportation to highway and rail transportation. A Modal Comparison of Domestic Freight Transportation Effects on the General Public: 2001–2019 (January 2022) was conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s Center for Port and Waterways. Conducted originally and peer-reviewed in 2007, the study was also previously updated in 2011 and 2017 when data sets were available.


The 2022 update addresses cargo capacity, congestion, emissions, energy efficiency, safety, and infrastructure impacts. A new executive summary highlighting the study’s key findings was developed, along with individual graphics and a new Powerpoint presentation. These assets are available to all who wish to use them to amplify the important messages of the study.


“The National Waterways Foundation, a nonprofit, tax-exempt

charity, relies solely on donations to fund its research and education activities. Its reports, such as this recently updated Modal Comparison Study, tell the public and policymakers why it is important to have an efficient waterways system to serve America,” said NWF Chairman Matt Woodruff (Kirby Corporation). “I am grateful to the industry leaders who take time from their busy schedules to serve on the Foundation board and guide this important work,” he continued.



West Kentucky Community and Technical College: Teaching and Training the Marine Workforce


By Kevin J. O’Neill, Vice President of Regional Workforce Training and Economic Development, West Kentucky Community and Technical College


As the marine industry, like many others, faces employment challenges, there are programs that are addressing the issue in this current economic climate and beyond.  Paducah’s West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) has developed a program to serve the needs of the marine sector through a broad-based Marine Technology program taught online with flexible schedules to accommodate the ever-changing mariner scheduler. The college offers Associate Degrees in Applied Marine Technology with tracks for Marine Culinary Management; Marine Engineering; Marine Logistics Operations, and Wheelhouse Management. Certificates in: Marine Culinary; Marine Engineering; Marine Industry, and Marine Technology Business. Stacked and latticed credentials: Shipyard certifications - Deckhand; Tankerman; Apprentice Mate; Licensed Mariner; OSHA; Confined Space; HAZMAT; Physical, Chemical and Biological Hazards; U.S. Coast Guard certifications; Marine certifications leading to AAS degree; welding certificates leading to AAS; and online Logistics Technician certificates leading to AAS.  Mariners with merchant mariner credentials also receive academic credit for their experience within the Marine Technology academic program.


Workforce Solutions also supports marine workforce training by providing diverse training offerings that include Radar Observer; Firefighting; Tankerman; Wheelhouse Basic Leadership; Engineering; Mate Leadership; Rose Point Electronic Chart System; Marine Diesel and Cooks Training. Training offerings three online offerings: Tankerman Dangerous Liquids; Maritime Security Awareness; and Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties.  Most courses are U.S. Coast Guard approved and award non-credential college credit. WKCTC can also deliver relevant industry-driven customized training.


The workforce training takes place in a 7,800 sq. ft. training facility in Paducah very near the river made possible through a grant from the Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Community College and Career Training grant program, a multi-year, nearly $2 billion initiative to expand targeted training programs. The training facility includes a conference room, classrooms, a radar lab, and offices. Renovations to the existing space on the main college campus to provide cooks training that includes six simulated vessel galleys for instruction. In addition, a 16-cylinder EDM diesel engine was donated by a towing company and refurbished with grant funds.


A 2021 Center of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education (CoE) recipient, WKCTC was one of 27 academic institutions in 16 states and one U.S. territory to receive this first-of-its-kind designation. 

As the challenges of a current and future maritime workforce increase, it’s good to know this outstanding education and training program is available in the heart of Paducah’s marine industry.


For more information, contact Ron Robbins,, 270-534-3895, or Barry Carter,, 270-534-3893. ϖ


Kristin Meira Departs Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, Heather Stebbings At The Helm


After nearly 20 years serving the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association (PNWA) as Executive Director, Kristin Meira left the organization on February 17 to become the head of Government Affairs in the Pacific Northwest for American Cruise Lines on February 22. 


Ms. Meira said, “Working with WCI has been one of the highlights of my time at PNWA. Whether it was partnering with their leadership to advocate for strengthening the Inland Waterways Trust Fund or joining their team in telling the story of inland navigation in venues around the country, our work together has been positive every step of the way.  I commend WCI's efforts and look forward to continuing my partnership with them in my new role at American Cruise Lines.”


Succeeding Kristin as Executive Director of PNWA is Heather Stebbings. For 13 years, she directed communications and government relations for the organization and has 15 years of advocacy and public policy experience in the Pacific Northwest. WCI congratulates Kristina and Heather in their new roles, and we appreciate the continued partnership between our two organizations.


See You At IMX2022!


Plan to attend Inland Marine Expo (IMX) 2022, to be held May 23-25 in St. Louis. In its 9th year, the tradeshow and conference are focused on improving operations and capturing opportunities for those operating on or along the inland and short-sea shipping routes of the United States and the marine contractors that build and maintain our waterways.


IMX’s infrastructure and sustainability theme will feature WCI President & CEO Tracy Zea as a keynoter in its opening session this year.  Later WCI Vice President-Midwest Paul Rohde will address specific projects and recent success in efforts to update marine infrastructure in a session titled, "Building and Maintaining Our Marine Highways."  Other education sessions will include alternate propulsion and fuel options for maintaining environmental advantage, reviewing three projects currently underway, system resiliency and Waterway's Action Plans, workforce development, safety and port development.  Young leaders of the industry will be celebrated at a closing session titled "Industry Proud."


Mr. Zea’s Opening Keynote Session, “Advocating for Tomorrow’s Waterways,” will take place on Tuesday, May 24, from 9:30 – 10:15 a.m. Central, will also feature Jennifer Carpenter, President & CEO of American Waterways Operators. (AWO) Ms. Carpenter will speak on AWO’s efforts to promote economic and security contributions, as well as the safety and environmental advantages of the maritime industry.  Mr. Zea will address WCI’s efforts to ensure the system is efficient and reliable and receives the necessary funding for much-needed lock modernization.


With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act late last year, $2.5 billion of federal funding was designated for new construction and major rehabilitation projects along the inland waterways—navigation projects that are itemized in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Capital Investment Strategy (CIS). Besides that, an additional $4 billion in the bill was allocated for the Corps’ operations and maintenance account across all civil works missions.

Likewise, the towboat and barge industry are also facing a major milestone this summer with the conclusion of the four-year phase-in period of Subchapter M. On July 10, 100 percent of the U.S. towboat fleet is expected to be in full compliance and fully certificated according to Subchapter M towing vessel regulations.


2022 Industry Calendar


March 29-31:  American Association of Port Authorities Legislative Summit, Washington, DC (Washington Marriott at Metro Center)


April 5-7:  National Academies Marine Board Spring Meeting 2022, Irvine, CA (Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center)


April 25-26:  National Waterways Conference 2022 Legislative Summit, Washington, DC (location TBA)


May 16-18:  American Waterways Operators 2022 Spring Board Meeting, Convention and Barge-In, Washington, DC (Watergate Hotel)


May 18 -20:  Warrior Tombigbee Waterway Association Annual Meeting, Point Clear, AL (Grand Hotel)


May 23-25:  Inland Marine Expo (IMX) 2022, St. Louis (The Dome @ America's Center)