U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY-01), today announced that he has called on House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to appoint House conferees to advance the final version of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which includes multiple provisions of Whitfield's WAVE 4 legislation. Whitfield noted the urgency in getting WRRDA passed as a means to modernizing Kentucky's deteriorating waterways infrastructure. Just last week, a barge sank in one of the chambers of the Lock 52 dam in Brookport, Illinois, which has caused severe delays for waterway traffic.
"The locks and dams comprising Kentucky's waterways are in dire need of repair and modernization," stated Whitfield. "At this very moment, we have dozens of barges and boats backed up on the Ohio River as all waterway traffic is forced to go through a single lock chamber at Lock 52 on the Ohio River. My WAVE 4 provisions will stop ongoing headaches like the one we are seeing at Lock 52 by prioritizing projects so places like Kentucky get much needed infrastructure upgrades."
Whitfield believes that it is not possible for Kentucky to have reliable transportation for the 21st century using early 20th century construction. Many locks and dams in Kentucky are as much as 80 years old. WAVE 4 will ensure the availability and reliability of the locks and dams which comprise the entire nation's inland waterways.
Whitfield's WAVE 4 components incorporated into WRRDA include: project prioritization; Corps project delivery reform; and adjusting of the cost sharing for projects which will provide $89 million per year for other priority inland waterway trust fund projects. According to the Waterways Council, the total value of Kentucky's domestic internal commodity movements is over $11.4 billion annually.
Whitfield pointed to the overwhelming passage of WRRDA in both the House and Senate as a reason to promptly appoint conferees so it can be sent to the President's desk to be signed.
"There is strong bipartisan and bicameral support for this legislation, and we respectfully urge you to appoint conferees and allow the legislative process to continue as quickly as possible."