"Industry, Obama Admin Wrestle Over Funding for Waterway Maintenance"

"President Obama's plan that calls for shipping interests to pick up more of the tab for channel-deepening projects and repairing and upgrading locks and other infrastructure along waterways is facing fierce industry opposition."

"The waterway proposal in Obama's deficit-reduction plan would generate $1 billion over a decade by charging fees for vessels that use waterways. The proposed two-tier fee -- which would charge the most for users of locks on rivers such as the Ohio, Tennessee and Upper Mississippi -- would supplement revenue raised in an existing 20-cents-a-gallon fuel tax.

Michael Toohey, president and CEO of the Waterways Council, an industry group, decried the plan as a massive tax increase. 'The proposed legislation would more than double the amount of taxes and fees on one beneficiary of our nation's waterways: commercial shippers,' Toohey said in a statement. 'These new economic burdens will disrupt the fragile economic recovery by unfairly disadvantaging consumers who will surely pay more for their goods and electricity.'"

Paul Quinlan reports for Greenwire October 3, 2011.

Source: Greenwire, 10/04/2011