US Shippers Ask For Raise On Inland Waterways Fuel Tax

As the Journal of Commerce reports, more than 75 business, agriculture and labor groups and local governments are urging the U.S. House of Representatives to hike the fuel tax that barge and towing companies pay into the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.

In a letter to Reps. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Sander Levin, D-Mich., the chairman and ranking member on the Ways and Means Committee, respectively, the group said that increasing the current tax of 20 cents per gallon by six to nine cents is needed to maintain and modernize the nation’s inland waterways.  According to  president and CEO of the Waterways Council, Mike Toohey,  “a one-cent hike would generate about $4.1 million in construction funding annually”.

“The inland waterways provide the most cost-competitive transportation options for our bulk commodities used in America and exported to marketplaces worldwide”, said the group

Inland waterways are the key to the movement of manfuactured goods, construction materials, fuel and fertilizer. Inland waterways handle 60 percent of U.S. grain exports, and the opening up of the expanded Panama Canal in mid-2015 provides even more outbound shipment opportunities if locks and dams are maintained, according to the group  (which includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers).

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