Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 31

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PORTS + POLITICS

Water Resources System
Integral to Competitiveness of
US Economy and Security
By Congressman Garret Graves (LA-06)
By Garret Graves

T

he United States is a maritime
nation. Much of our country's
success, and future successes,
are dependent on our ports and
waterways system. With 41 states being
served by ports and waterways, and 25,000
miles of inland and intracoastal waterways, this system is integrally tied to the
economic development and global competitiveness of our nation.
But this system is aging. The average
age of our locks is over 60 years old, well
beyond their intended design life. The
result is numerous delays that impact the
half a billion tons of cargo that flow on
these waters every year. Our ports, through
which 99 percent of overseas trade passes,
struggle to maintain their navigation channels at their fully authorized depths, let
alone a depth to allow for even bigger ships
that are increasingly the global norm.
It is not just our navigation system that
needs to be upgraded, but also our levees
and dam systems, which are, on average,
more than 50 years old. This vast network
of levees and dams is critical to protecting millions of people in cities and towns
across the nation, as well as providing
essential benefits such as water supply,
irrigation and hydropower.
Central to all of these issues is the Army
Corps of Engineers. Right now, there is a

backlog of 1,000 projects totaling approximately $96 billion in need. With an annual
Corps budget of about $6 billion, the
simple reality is that we will likely never
catch up. Therefore it is important that we
examine process improvements to drive
efficient project delivery.
The Corp's inability to complete projects, or even approve permits in a timely
fashion, has become a major source of
frustration for non-federal stakeholders
across the nation.
According to the National Association
of Environmental Professionals "Annual
NEPA Report for 2015," the Corps takes,
on average, over six years to complete an
Environmental Impact Statement. The
Council on Environmental Quality estimates that environmental permitting delivery times take, on average, about 4.7 years.
The status quo is simply not good enough.
And we're working to fix what's broken.
In the past three years, we have enacted
major, transformational changes to the
Corps. Congress made a conscious effort
in WRRDA 2014 to enhance America's
competiveness and strengthen investments
in the nation's water resources infrastructure, by including several transformative
provisions in the law. 
WRRDA 2014 reformed bureaucracy, and increased Congressional

oversight in prioritizing future water
resources investment.
With WRRDA 2016, we got back to a
two-year cycle and built on the reforms
of WRRDA 2014 to further increase
flexibility and remove barriers for state,
local and non-federal interests to invest
in infrastructure. We set frameworks for
alternative finance and delivery tools for
the Corps to take advantage of, but many
of these tools have yet to be implemented.
Now is the time to push hard and make
progress in the right direction.
In June of last year, James C. Dalton,
the director of Civil Works for the Army
Corps, released a memo entitled "Further
Advancing Project Delivery Efficiency and
Effectiveness of USACE Civil Works."
There are many good operational improvements in that memo that reduce redundancies and delegate decision making
authorities to appropriate levels. We
support these efforts and are making
sure these reforms are being diligently
implemented.
We have a lot of work to do in order
to ensure that our water resources system can sustain the competitiveness of
the American economy and protect our
national security, and WRRDA 2016
offers a critical, timely opportunity to do
just that. ●

We set frameworks for alternative finance and delivery tools for
the Corps to take advantage of, but many of these tools have yet
to be implemented. Now is the time to push hard and
make progress in the right direction.

SPRING 2018 * WWW.AAPASEAPORTS.COM

31


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018

AAPA Headquarters
From the President’s Desk
Business Boom: Ports Report Record-Setting 2017
One-Sided Investments – U.S. Ports Call for Federal Support of Long-Term Infrastructure Development
Ship Shape: Ports Navigate Their Niches to Find Their Areas of Expertise
Finding the Right Mix – A Latin American Port’s Perspective
Dredging Demands
Water Resources System Integral to Competitiveness of US Economy and Security
Port-Based Welfare Provision: It’s About Collaboration
Index of Advertisers
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Intro
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - cover1
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - cover2
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 3
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 4
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 5
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - AAPA Headquarters
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 7
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - From the President’s Desk
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 9
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Business Boom: Ports Report Record-Setting 2017
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 11
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 12
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 13
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - One-Sided Investments – U.S. Ports Call for Federal Support of Long-Term Infrastructure Development
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 15
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 16
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 17
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 18
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 19
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Ship Shape: Ports Navigate Their Niches to Find Their Areas of Expertise
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 21
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 22
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 23
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Finding the Right Mix – A Latin American Port’s Perspective
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 25
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Dredging Demands
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 27
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 28
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 29
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 30
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Water Resources System Integral to Competitiveness of US Economy and Security
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Port-Based Welfare Provision: It’s About Collaboration
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 33
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Index of Advertisers
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - cover3
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - cover4
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - divider1
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - divider2
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 40
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 41
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 42
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