“We can’t keep moving from crisis to crisis, now’s the time to get it done”
Washington, DC – (RealEstateRama) — As a result of shortsighted planning and a lack of funding for much-needed repairs to decaying locks and dams on the Ohio and Mon Rivers, Southwestern Pennsylvania waterways are in dangerous condition. At Charleroi, the concrete wall can visibly be seen moving as water flows through the lock. The Edgeworth Dam on the Ohio River has been rated as most likely to fail. Yet each year, the cost of maintenance grows and the need for upgrades become more urgent. In fact, the Army Corp of Engineers reports the condition of inland locks and dams in the United States is “a crisis headed for catastrophe.”
Today, Murphy weighed in with congressional leadership on the House Appropriations Committee seeking to ensure that a sufficient level of funding is provided to the Army Corps of Engineers to enable the Corps to repair and maintain our nation’s locks and dams in addition to completing ongoing inland waterway development projects. Murphy’s letter comes in response to the President’s FY2017 budget requests which proposes to cut $434 million from the Army Corps Operations and Maintenance account.
“The prosperity of greater Southwestern Pennsylvania, indeed the entire country, depends on the safe and efficient transport of goods along these rivers,” said Murphy. “Pittsburgh boasts one of the busiest inland ports in the country. Every year, billions of dollars’ worth of goods are shipped through the Port of Pittsburgh making it a critical commercial gateway for the nation. But for waterways transportation to remain cost-efficient, the locks and dams serving as the navigational backbone of these rivers must be modernized.”
Throughout his tenure in Congress, Murphy has doggedly pursued resources to maintain and upgrade the region’s waterways, locks and dams. Below is the text of the letter:
April 4, 2016
The Honorable Michael Simpson The Honorable March Kaptur
Chairman Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Energy and Water Subcommittee on Energy and Water
Development and Related Agencies Development and Related Agencies
House Committee on Appropriations House Committee on Appropriations
2362-B Rayburn House Office Building 1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Simpson and Ranking Members Kaptur,
As you begin to draft the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2017, I write to urge you to appropriate sufficient funding to the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for construction, replacement, rehabilitation and expansion of inland waterways projects and for operations and maintenance activities for inland costal navigation. Specifically, I request the FY17 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill:
- Appropriates a level of construction funding for the USACE to ensure that the Inland Waterway Trust Fund (IWTF) cost-shared lock and dam modernization projects are funded at the highest level —approximately $390 million—that can be supported by the inland waterway diesel tax revenues expected to be received by the U.S. Treasury Department during fiscal year 2017, and
- Appropriate a USACE Operations and Maintenance account funding level for FY 2017 that equals or exceeds the $3.137 billion level provided by Congress for FY 2016 for the operation and maintenance activities of the Corps, including those in support of inland and coastal navigation projects throughout the nation.
The inland waterways systems consists of approximately 12,000 miles of commercially navigable channels and 239 lock chambers to support the movement of goods to and from thirty-eight states. The inland waterways system carries approximately 565 million tons of cargo, valued at nearly $214 billion each year. Therefore, these issues are extremely important to my constituents in Southwestern Pennsylvania and, for that matter, to countless others throughout our nation’s inland waterway transportation system.
Thank you for the consideration I am confident you will give to these matters.
Member of Congress