Alexander said the bill, also supported by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), would nearly double the amount of money in the Inland Waterways Trust Fund by increasing the commercial user fees, which would help the Chickamauga Lock in his state. By widening the Chickamauga Lock, more cargo could be transported.
"We have two trust funds to deal with waterway infrastructure like the Chickamauga Lock, and neither of them works,” Alexander said in a statement Wednesday. “The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund collects a lot of money, but doesn't spend it well. The Inland Waterways Trust Fund doesn't collect much money, but spends it well. This bill would fix the way our ports and waterways are funded so that we can meet the challenges they face, and passing this bill would mean Chickamauga Lock gets the funding it will need to be completed."
The bill would also speed up construction permit approval and authorize a 5-year construction program to expand harbors to accommodate the larger ships expected after the Panama Canal expansion, among other things.