Members of the barge shipping industry are on Capitol Hill today, asking Congress to raise the taxes they pay for fuel.
Shippers support a plan that would increase the fuel tax they pay from 20 cents per-gallon to 29 cents per-gallon of diesel fuel. The extra money would be used to fund improvements to locks and dams, some of which are more than 70 years old.
“We think that one of the next major issues that system could face is the aging infrastructure,” says Ann McCulloch, a spokesperson for the American Waterways Operators, an advocacy group for the barge shipping industry. “We’re up here pressing our case with members of congress talking about how important it is to maintain that infrastructure, both for the needs of the system of today, as well as ensuring that we can continue to carry the nation’s cargo well into the future.”
McCulloch says low water that threatened to shut down shipping on a critical stretch of the Mississippi River south of St. Louis brought home the economic importance of inland waterways.
Shippers say they’ll meet with more than 130 Senators and Representatives today.
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