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"Great” has an authorization of over $9 million and its membership ? is composed of all the affected states and the five primarily involved

Federal agencies. Its purpose is to examine and develop a master plan incorporating navigation, fish, wildlife, recreation, watershed management and water quality. I have observed their activities thus far and am hopeful that their plan will be useful.

We have heard many references to the massive volumes of studies which back up user charges and transportation fees. Of the 18 major studies often referred to, not one has examined the questions of impact on farm income, cost of living index, energy supply, energy security, regionally differential employment, regional income levels or export expansion.

Some of these studies had proposed including shallow draft vessels and others, only shallow draft channels. Some have included the Great Lakes and others, only seacoast harbors and channels. The method of recovery has also been varied. The collection proposals have included ton mill taxes, lockage fees, congestion tolls, license fees, vessel weight, and vessel size proposals.

In short, the contradictions far exceed the similarities in their conclusions. It is also interesting to note that almost one-third have specifically recommended conforming amendments to the railroad rate structure so as to prevent “predatory pricing and rate cutting.” The definitive studies authorized in this bill are obvious badly needed.

Mr. Chairman, this bill was not my first choice. But, because of practical realities I am convinced that it is the best possible vehicle for rebuilding a vital link in our national transportation system, for establishing a reasonable user tax without major economic dislocations, and for assembling the information needed for future decisions. I hope it will pass today.

Mr. PRICE. Mr. Chairman, I would just like to add my thoughts to this discussion, even though my distinguished colleagues should have no doubts about where I stand on the issue of locks and dam No. 26.

It is a well known fact that I have been concerned with the replace1

ment of this facility since its need was recognized, and that I have been fighting particularly hard since the imposition of unreasonable delays in recent years.

I want to urge my colleagues to support the committee, chaired by our colleague, the Honorable Ray Roberts. Many areas of this country are indebted to the committee for its great work.

With our consideration of H.R. 8309, the Navigation Development Act, the time has come to eliminate once and for all the bottleneck on the Mississippi River that is slowly strangling a flow of commerce vital to our Nation's economy and balance of payments. The deteriorating condition and inadequate capacity of locks and dam No. 26 loom ever larger as an obstacle each vear that Congress fails to act.

Located on the Mississippi River 20 miles north of St. Louis, locks and dam No. 26 serves as a funnel for all river traffic between the Illinois and upper Mississippi on the one hand and the Ohio, lower Mississippi, and the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway on the other. Through that funnel must pass millions of dollars worth of grain exports moving south, as well as vitally needed coal, oil, chemicals, and fertilizer on their way north.

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Use of the waterway to transport these commodities conserves scarce energy resources and valuable consumer dollars. But the now inadequate size of the locks is causing longer and longer delays each year. These delays are compounded by the threat of mechanical breakdowns as the near 40-year-old facility creaks under its load and that threat of mechanical breakdown increases with each passing year of congressional inaction.

The operational and procedural improvements that have been sug. gested were instituted last fall, and very little in the way of added efficiencies can be expected from such measures. Unless locks and dam No. 26 is rebuilt and enlarged, the delays will lengthen until they drive traffic off the river altogether. Shippers will then have to use alternate modes of transport at higher cost to consumers, or, worse yet, the traffic will not move at all and economic activity in the region will stagnate.

Rebuilding locks and dam No. 26 would provide vitally useful work for significant numbers of people at a time when millions of our Nation's citizens are unemployed. And I stress that the work itself is vital—we must rebuild the locks in order to uncork the bottleneck on the river.

And when we do replace locks and dam 26 we will have a precious and essential investment in a capital facility that will serve the economy of the Nation for upward of 50 years.

I am greatly worried, Mr. Chairman, about our capability to balance our trade and prevent further erosion of the dollar's strength in world markets. We are importing more oil each year and we are planning to decrease arms sales abroad. The population of our planet is expected to double within the next 30 years, from 4 billion to 8 billion. Without doubt we will be expected to provide increasing quantities of foodand principally grain—to the rest of the world. With these prospects before us we would be shortsighted indeed if we delayed action any longer.

Congress has been actively studying locks and dam 26 since 1969, and the need for a new facility has been recognized from the outset. Several years ago, work on the project was blocked as a result of judicial interpretations of statutory authority and environmental ramifications. Last year congressional action was stymied by the 11th hour linkage of the authorization with a highly controversial user charges issue. Though the user charges issue still remains, I urge my colleagues to vote for today's bill.

By now, all of the economic and environmental aspects of the project have been exhaustively studied and debated; logic shows that the arguments against the facility simply "do not hold water.” The proposed new facility will itself take 8 to 10 years to construct. Meanwhile, the delays at the present facility are growing intolerably longer. This time Congress must act, quickly and decisively, to untie the knot by authorizing the Corps of Engineers to replace locks and dam 26 without further delay.

Mr. Quis. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 8309 which authorizes construction of a replacement for locks and dam 26 at Alton, Ill., and also imposes for the first time a fuel tax of up to 6 cents a gallon by 1981 on commercial cargo vessels sailing on inland waterways.

Even though many Members' district may be thousands of miles away from the Alton facility, I hope that each of you recognize its importance to the Nation's economy, especially that of the Upper Midwest.

Locks and dam 26 is vital. Our ability to provide grain to customers and our need to "import” oil, coal, and other energy-related products are highly dependent upon it.

Agriculture is the economic cornerstone of the upper Midwest's economy. It also is an energy-importing region, since it has no coal, no natural gas, and no oil. Eighty percent of the goods shipped through Alton are either agriculture or energy-related. More tonnage passes through locks and dam 26 than through the Panama Canal.

The Alton facility has become a bottleneck because all river traffic from the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers must merge into locks and dam 26. The two rivers, which have a combined capacity of 105 million tons of cargo annually, feed into a single river and into an outmodel locks and dam system having a practical capacity of 46 million tons annually. A practical capacity is defined as being able to “lock through” without unnecessary delay.

It is a little like the merging of a two-lane highway into one lane at rush hour. Traffic slows down and in some cases it stops. The practical capacity of 46 million tons was surpassed in 1971, against a growing tonnage of 2 to 3 million tons more than in 1975. This resulted in extraordinary delays averaging 18 to 21 hours, although some tows waited as long as 3 days. Figuring tows at $150 an hour, it is easy to see how shipping costs are driven up.

Mr. Chairman, a constituent of mine, George Daley of Lewiston, Minn., a dairy and pork producer, put it rather succinctly recently when he said:

The outcome of this proposal to replace Locks and Dam 26 will affect...my ability as a farmer to continue to earn a livelihood producing food. But it will also affect me and many others in this part of the country who produce a good share of the nation's food; it will affect this country's balance of payments, it affects consumers . . . If the cost of transporting those supplies is forced up by allowing the river to become impassable and is limited to boxcar shortages and logistics, farmers will have to bear that increased ost in prices paid for supplies.

In April 1976 a partial collapse of a wall damaged the lock, forcing an 8-day shutdown of river traffic. The Army Corps of Engineers was able to do a quick patchup job, but the structural difficulties still remain One hundred tows pushing about 1,000 barges loaded with grain, ammonia, gasoline, and other goods were stopped.

The collapse tied up 800,000 tons of commerce valued at $225 million. The effects of the shutdown were felt in several States:

The Grain Terminal Association in Minneapolis reported a loss of $3 million in shipping time.

Some cooperatives in Illinois ran out of dry nitrogen (urea) during the critical spring planting time.

In New Orleans, 14 oceangoing vessels were idled. At $20,000 a day each, that amounts to $2,240,000.

Some gasoline suppliers in Chicago area ran out.

Sixteen barges loaded with lime needed for steel manufacturing in the Chicago-Gary, Ind., area were tied up.

St. Louis shipyards began laying off workers.
Grain prices above Alton fell 4 cents, while downstream they rose.

The problem we face today is that of a crumbling, outmoded structure. Shifting sands beneath the facility have led to increasing cracks in the dam and wrenching of the locks. If damage in the future makes it impossible to ship goods, the effects could be paralyzing. Farmers will not get fertilizer. Markets will tumble. Little grain will be exported. Dairyland power in Wisconsin, which serves more than 300,000 individuals in four States, will be cut off from 66 percent of its coal supply.

This bill was jointly developed by the Public Works and Transportation Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, and I believe it is a good bill. For the first time it establishes a user fee of 4 cents a gallon by this time next year, and up to 6 cents a gallon by 1981.

Traditionally, we have recognized free use of "water highways" as a part of our heritage. But since locks and dams were built on the river to facilitate movement of river commerce and now with the need to expand and replace locks and dam 26 just to keep pace with economic needs—it seems necessary to have barge operators share in some of the costs of expansion.

User fees should not be established to equalize immediately the costs between rail and barge transportation. That is not their purpose. However, farmers, barge operators and others who depend on the river should not object to a more fair and equitable way of paying for our transportation system.

I strongly urge approval of this legislation.

Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Chairman, H.R. 8309 is a reasonable compromise of difficult issues. It is a bill to place a 4-cent fuel tax on shallow draft barging and clear the way for the reconstruction of lock and dam 26 at Alton. Ill. It is recommended to us by the Ways and Means and Public Works and Transportation Committees and the leadership. I would like to draw the attention of my colleagues to some underlying facts about the barging industry and its importance to the economy of Indiana and the Midwest.

The Mississippi-Ohio system is of particular service to the steel industry and agriculture. Low-cost barge transportation both for steam coal and ores and for finished products is of crucial importance. Thomas C. Graham, president of Jones & Laughlin Steel Co., said earlier in the year that

Unless we can ship our steel down river by the bargeload, it will be difficult maybe $20 a ton more difficult—to compete with foreign products.

I need not remind this body of the current state of farm prices and how reluctant we should be to add to the transportation costs of agricultural supplies and products. This additional charge comes right out of the farmers pocket.

I have in my district one of the country's larger inland shipyards that manufactures river barges and towboats. Employment at Jeffboat in Jeffersonville is over 1,500 persons. The operation has significant economic impact on this region. The uncertainty in the barge transportation industry generated by the controversy over user charges has been quite detrimental to construction in the shipyard now and in the

immediate future. Not knowing what to expect and fearing that Congress and the Department of Transportation were out to strangle the barge transportation industry; barge operators have almost ceased ordering new equipment. The feeling among this group is that they would rather go broke with an old fleet than go broke with a new one. Hence, the continued full employment at this construction facility is very much in jeopardy.

These same consequences will occur in many other auxiliary related businesses that provide the livelihood for many of our citizens unless we take a reasonable, approach to this very complex issue.

The legislation we have before us in H.R. 8309 I believe is a reasonable solution to this problem. It provides for construction of lock and dam 26 which is necessary to the continued viability of the barge industry.

Title II of this bill introduces the concept of waterway user charges. This is and of itself is a major policy change in our national policy. The level of tax in my option is significant and I think it imperative that moderation be exercised until this body is able to evaluate the economic impacts both by State and region and possible relocation of business.

This information will be provided to this body by the studies called for in title III of this legislation.

I believe this legislation H.R. 8309 as voted by the Ways and Means and the Public Works and Transportation Committees merits support and should not be amended.

Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. Chairman, my views on the waterways industry are well known to many of my colleagues. My district and my State are particularly dependent upon the transportation provided by the Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers.

I have long been involved in addressing the needs of our inland waterways and in providing whatever assistance I can to support and promote the water resources of this country. I plan to continue to do this.

The taxing program that H.R. 8309 inaugurates could potentially put a stop to our inland waterway transportation system entirely. It has been hastily conceived, without analysis of the burdens and benefits that would result from a tax measure of this nature.

Not all parts of the waterways industry were heard from. No represent: tives of the thousands of small, independent barge operators who ply the inland waterways were given opportunity to testify.

And probably most disturbing to me is that the apparent consensus over the adoption of this charge has been produced in large part by far. Some people in the waterways industry have been led to believe that if they do not accept this tax, they can expect to get something worse. I do not believe that veiled threats and fear produce sound public policy

The issue has been further clouded by holding the replacement of lock and dam 26 hostage to the user charge principle.

I believe that a much wiser and more effective way to approach this issue would be to await the report of the National Transportation Policy Study Commission which is presently studying our national transportation needs and policy alternatives.

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