Waterways Council expresses "disappointment" in White House budget
Waterways Council, Inc., a national advocacy group for ports and inland waterways, expressed "disappointment" today in the Obama administration's proposed FY 2016 budget.
“Given recent austere budget proposals for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, it is not surprising that the Administration has slashed FY ’16 transportation infrastructure funding," said Michael J. Toohey, the President and CEO of Waterways Council, Inc. "It is, nonetheless, disappointing to see so little appropriations funding requested for lock and dam modernization in a Presidential budget portrayed as focused on infrastructure investment.”
The group highlighted the new budget's 13.25% cut in funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program and a 28.5% reduction to the construction account as particularly problematic. They also noted that the new budget proposes $2.710 billion for the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) account, which is $110 million more than the Administration requested for the account last year, but still represents a $198.5 million cut from what Congress appropriated for the current fiscal year. The group also emphasized that the new budget provides no funding for Kentucky Lock or Chickamauga Lock, leaving $100 million in supportable investment from the Trust Fund to languish.
“A New National Waterways Foundation study indicates that if 21 priority navigation projects on our inland waterways could be completed at an estimated total cost of just $5.8 billion, the 20-year sum of related economic output activity would exceed $82 billion that would benefit our nation’s economy overall,” Toohey added.