(Posted Fri. Apr 24th, 2015)
As the new tax quarter began, the Waterways Council and its allies remind effected parties of the 9 cent per gallon barge diesel user fee increase that went into effect April 1. The fee increase and other changes were the result of a broadly supported effort, backed by the National Corn Growers Association, to improve the U.S. inland waterways infrastructure to handle forecasted increases in traffic.
“NCGA and other agriculture groups have advocated for this increase for many years,” said Garry Niemeyer, Illinois farmer and NCGA representative to the Waterways Council. “More than 60 percent of the nation’s grain exports are transported by barge. Shippers and barge operators both lobbied for changes to the system, due in large part to farmers bringing in record grain harvests.”
The fees go toward the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, which finances construction and major rehabilitation on the nation’s inland waterways. An estimated $260 million is expected to be generated over the next 10 years for repairs along the Ohio, Mississippi and lower Missouri Rivers, as well as the Gulf and Atlantic Intracoastal waterways. This system supports 257 locks at 212 sites.