Waterway shippers trying to get attention–and funds

Oct 02, 2009 | 12:12 PM | Corinna Petry

Noting that the Great Lakes ports and locks, river locks and dams have been largely ignored by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), two industry spokesmen laid out the dangers faced if little or no improvement is made.

Barges in the Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois, Monongahela and Tennessee river valleys move iron ore, alloys, ferrous scrap and metallurgical coal to steel mills and, frequently, finished products from the mills, Dan Mecklenborg, chairman of the Waterways Council Inc. and senior vice president and chief legal counsel for Ingram Barge Co., Nashville, Tenn., said at AMM's Infrastructure and Steel Conference in Chicago.

The Inland Waterways Trust Fund, containing money gathered from barge and towboat operators to co-finance dredging and lock improvements in a 50/50 cost-share arrangement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, "is nearing depletion," Mecklenborg said. The fund has fallen from a peak of $412 million in 2002 to $112 million this year.....

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