Senators also approved an amendment that includes provisions to increase the capacity of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund by taking the Olmsted Lock and Dam project out of the trust fund account. This action would enable funding to go to other waterways infrastructure, including locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River, according to the American Soybean Association.
Additionally, the adopted amendment includes compromise language on the streamlined process for Corps projects, as well as a compromise on the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund that would provide, under certain circumstances, increased funding annually for port maintenance and dredging, but not wall-off the trust fund entirely.
Though not yet considered, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is planning to offer an amendment to add provisions of his Mississippi River Navigation Sustainment Act (S. 565) to WRDA. Much of S. 565 has been incorporated into the WRDA, but Senator Durbin's amendment will add a study of the Mississippi River Basin to the bill. It is intended to help better understand how the Basin functions and how it can be managed to maintain safe and reliable navigation and protect lives and property, especially during times of extreme flooding and drought, ASA said.
Overall, the underlying bill as reported out of committee also includes provisions to wall off the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, thus providing additional funding for port and harbor maintenance and dredging, according to the American Soybean Association.
Neither the underlying bill nor the manager's amendment includes provisions to increase Inland Waterways Trust Fund revenues.
News source: ASA