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The 94th Congress created the National Transportation Policy Study Commission and gave it a mandate to evaluate all our transportation systems, including the inland waterways. I was on the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee which originally approved funds for the study and gave it this important mandate.
The Commission's study is to be completed and a report is due to be presented to Congress by December 31, 1978. We should await that report.
It is my understanding that the Council's research should be completed this winter and that by next summer the report will be in the drafting stage.
Throughout the debate on the user charge issue, little mention has been made of the biggest loser—the consumer. It is the consumer who will have to pay for waterway user charges, and an increase in barge rates will result in an increase in water-competitive rail rates, which will also have to be borne by the consumer.
There are those of my colleagues who insist that a user charge is appropriate and equitable. If, then, it is the will of this body that barge operators will pay user charges on our inland waterways, then we must adopt a taxing program that will not totally break the back of the industry. The Senate's version of this legislation contains user charge provisions that will cripple beyond repair the most energyefficient and cost-effective mode of transportation available today.
If we are to have a waterway user tax, then we must make good on the commitment in this bill to a study of the economic impacts of inland waterway user charges. If it is found that such taxes are counterproductive, then the tax contained in H.R. 8309 should be lifted.
It is with a great deal of reluctance that I shall vote for passage of this bill. However, in view of the critical need for replacement of lock and dam 26, and recognizing the division of sentiment within the inland waterways transportation industry and the unacceptability of the only other alternative before the Congress, I find myself compelled to support H.R. 8309.
Mr. GEPHARDT. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 8309, the Navigation Development Act, which authorizes replacement of lock and dam 26 and establishes a policy of waterway user fees.
I support this bill as a necessary measure to assure that the smooth and efficient passage of freight along the Mississippi River continues.
The present situation at locks and dam 26 is totally unacceptable. The facility is cracking and crumbling because of its sandy foundation which is constantly subject to shifting and settling. Emergency repairs have been authorized and are being carried out. But without work to extend the life of the facility for 50 years, the Mississippi River could well be lost as a mode of transporting freight at low cost.
A far more pressing concern is the inadequate size of locks and dam 26. It is altogether too small to accommodate the existing volume of traffic which converges at that point from the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. While the practical capacity of the locks and dam is 46 million tons a year, last year 59 million tons of freight passed through. The volume necessitates barge tows far larger than the locks and dam can efficiently handle, so most tows have to be broken up and lowered through the facility in several segments.
The situation results in terrific traffic jams on the river and long waits to gain access to the lock. Some tows are delayed as long as a week. The entire time barges are waiting, their motors are running, using up precious fuel we are all trying to conserve in this time of serious energy shortages.
I visited the Alton facility in April and took a trip through the lock. I was unprepared for the urgency of the situation and became convinced there was no alternative other than immediate action to authorize a replacement lock and dam 2 miles downriver from the existing facility.
Nevertheless, questions have been raised about whether locks and dam 26 should be replaced or just repaired to accomplish the same result for less cost. Several proposals for rehabilitation have been put forward, but in my view, they do not offer viable alternatives.
An independent engineering study of the repair plans, carried out by Sverdrup and Parcel Associates, found most of the proposed work inadequate to assure a 50-year lifé. To complete rehabilitation that would be sound for that length of time, if possible at all, was estimated to cost $440 million, almost as much as the price tag on a replacement.
In addition, there is considerable doubt that rehabilitation work can be done while locks and dam 26 remain in operation. If not, the Mississippi River would be virtually shut down for freight transport for 2 years.
The question that remains outstanding is the impact of the proposed project on the need for our country to develop a well-integrated, equitable, multimodal transportation network. In this connection, the suggestion of waterway user fees has become extricably intertwined with locks and dam 26 and thus H.R. 8309 appropriately raises and addresses the issue.
Title II of the bill authorizes a 4-cent (rising to 6 cents) per gallon tax on fuel used in waterway transportation and title III calls for a study of the economic impact of waterway user fees. The committee l'eport, furthermore, orders a study of Federal support for all modes of commercial transportation, what effects additional charges on different modes will have on the national economy, consumer prices, energy, and so on, and make recommendations on the proper levels of taxation on all forms of transportation.
These provisions represent a good compromise on the many viewpoints expressed to the Ways and Means Committee in this regard. The administration proposed a fuel tax large enough to pay for 50 percent of the maintenance costs and 100 percent of the cost of construction projects on inland waterways. Others, however, maintained users should pay 100 percent of all costs while still others opposed any user fees at all.
Proposals on the type of fee to be imposed also varied widely. Should We tax fuel used in water transport-commercial and/or noncommercial-or should we charge for use of facilities like locks and dam 26 ?
During the committee hearings, many arguments were made on all sides raising many questions about these proposals. The one conclusion that emerged clearly from this debate is that too little is known about the impact of waterway user fees to determine the amount and type at this time.
Thus, I believe H.R. 8309, by authorizing a relatively small fuel tax, correctly establishes the principle that waterway users should pay some part of the cost of the waterway system but that a final decision on the type, kind, and amount of waterway user fees should await the outcome of two important and necessary studies.
I believe this bill offers the fairest and most reasonable approach to the difficult waterway user fee issue. In addition, it will permit the urgently needed work on a new Alton lock and dam to go forward without further delay. I urge my colleagues to join me in voting for H.R. 8309. Mr. HAGEDORN. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of
time. Mr. ULLMAN. Mr. Chairman, I have no further requests for time. I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. Chairman, I move that the committee do now rise.
Accordingly the committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. Brademas) having assumed the chair, Mr. McFall, Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, reported that that committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 8309) authorizing certain public works on rivers for navigation, and for other purposes, had come to no resolution thereon.
HOUSE DEBATE-OCTOBER 13, 1977
NAVIGATION DEVELOPMENT ACT
Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. Speaker, I move that the House resolve itself into the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the further consideration of the bill (H.R. 8309) authorizing certain public works on rivers for navigation, and for other purposes.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Brown of California). The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Roberts).
The motion was agreed to.
The CHAIRMAN. When the Committee rose on Tuesday, October 11, 1977, all time for general debate on the bill had expired.
Pursuant to the rule, no amendment to title II of said substitute, and no amendment in the nature of a substittue changing title II of said substitute shall be in order, except amendments offered by direction of the Committee on Ways and Means, and said amendments shall not be subject to amendment.
The Clerk will now read by titles the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Committee on Public Works and Transportation now printed in the reported bill as an original bill for the purpose of amendment.
The Clerk read as follows:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled ;
Sec. 101. This title may be cited as the "Navigation Development Act”. Sec. 102. The project for the replacement of locks and dam 26, Mississippi River, Alton, Illinois, and Missouri, is hereby authorized substantially in accordance with the recommendations of the Chief of Engineers in House Document Numbered 94-584, including authorization for the evaluation and study referred to in paragraph 16d of such recommendations, at an estimated cost of $132,000,000.
Sec. 103. The following inland and intracoastal waterways of the United States are subject to this Act:
(1) Alabama-Coosa Rivers : From junction with the Tombigbee River at river mile (hereinafter referred to as RM) O to junction with Coosa River at RM 314.
(2) Allegheny River: From confluence with the Mononga hela River to form the Ohio River at RM 0 to the head of the existing project at East Brady, Pennsylvania, RM 72.
(3) Apalachicola-Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers : Apalachicola River from mouth at Apalachicola Bay (intersection with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway) RM 0 to junction with Chatthoochee and Flint Rivers at RM 107.8. Chattahoochee River from junction with Apalachicola and Flint Rivers at RM 0 to Columbus, Georgia, at RM 155; and Flint River, from junction with Apalachicola and Chattahoochee Rivers at RM 0 to Bainbridge, Georgia, at RM 28.
(4) Arkansas River (McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System): From junction with Mississippi River at RM 0 to port of Catoosa, Oklahoma, at RM 448.2.
(5) Atchafalaya River: From RM 0 at its intersection with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway at Morgan City, Louisiana, upstream to junction with Red River at RM 116.8.
(6) Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway: Two inland water routes approximately paralleling the Atlantic coast between Norfolk, Virginia, and Miami.. Florida, for 1,192 miles via both the Albermarle and Chesapeake Canal and Great Dismal Swamp Canal routes.
(7) Black Warrior-Tombigbee-Mobile Rivers : Black Warrior River Sys.. tem from RM 2.9, Mobile River (at Chickasaw Creek) to confluence with Tombigbee River at RM 45. Tombigbee River (to Demopolis at RM 215.4) to port of Birmingham, RM's 374 411 and upstream to head of navigation on. Mulberry Fork (RM 429.6), Locust Fork (RM 407.8), and Sipsey Fork (RM 430.4).
(8) Columbia River (Columbia-Snake Rivers Inland Waterway): From The Dalles at RM 191.5 to Pasco, Washington (McNary Pool), at RM 330, Snake River from RM 0 at the mouth to RM 231.5 at Johnson Bar Landing, Idaho.
(9) Cumberland River: Junction with Ohio River at RM 0 to head of navi. gation, upstream to Carthage, Tennessee, at RM 313.5.
(10) Green and Barren Rivers : Green River from junction with the Ohio. River at RM 0 to head of navigation at RM 149.1.
(11) Gulf Intracoastal Waterway: From St. Mark's River, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas. 1,134.5 miles.
(12) Illinois Waterway (Calumet-Sag Channel): From the junction of the Illinois River with the Mississippi River RM 0 to Chicago Harbor at Lake Michigan, approximately RM 350.
(13) Kanawha River: From junction with Ohio River at RM 0 to RM 90.6 at Deepwater, West Virginia.
(14) Kaskaskia River : From junction with the Mississippi River at RM 0 to RM 36.2 at Fayetteville, Illinois.
(15) Kentucky River : From junction with Ohio River at RM O to con-fluence of Middle and North Forks at RM 258.6.
(16) Lower Mississippi River: From Baton Rouge, Louisiana, RM 233.9 to Cairo. Illinois, RM 953.8.
(17) Upper Mississippi River: From Cairo, Illinois, RM 953.8 to Minne.. apolis, Minnesota, RM 1811.4.
(18) Missouri River: From junction with Mississippi River at RM 0 toSioux City, Iowa, at RM 734.8.
(19) Monongahela River : From junction with Allegheny River to form the Ohio River at RM O to junction of the Tygart and West Fork Rivers, Fairmont, West Virginia, at RM 128.7.
(20) Ohio River: From junction with the Mississippi River at RM O to junction of the Allegheny and Mononga hela Rivers at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at RM 981.
(21) Ouachita-Black Rivers : From the mouth of the Black River at its junction with the Red River at RM 0 to RM 351 at Camden, Arkansas.
(22) Pearl River : From junction of West Pearl River with the Rigolets. at RM 0, to Bogalusa, Louisiana, RM 58.
(23) Red River: From RM 0 to the mouth of Cypress Bayou at RM 236.
(24) Tennessee River : From junction with Ohio River at RM 0 to confluence with Holstein and French Rivers at RM 652.
(25) White River : From RM 9.8 to RM 255 at Newport, Arkansas.
(26) Willamette River: From RM 14 upstream of Portland, Oregon, to Harrisburg, Oregon, at RM 194. SEC. 104. The authorizations for appropriations contained in this Act are for those fiscal years which begin on or after October 1, 1977.
Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that title I be considered as read, printed in the Record, and open to amendment at any point.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Texas?
There was no objection.