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AIWW Discusses Backlog for East Coast US Waterways

Posted on May 15, 2024

One of the best ways we have heard infrastructure investments described is buying down risk to the system. In the case of the AIWW, this would be removing obstacles that impede the movement of products and goods along Marine Highway 95. If we were traveling down Interstate 95 and hit a dirt patch instead of smooth road, it would cause dramatic impacts to drivers just like shoaling impacts our waterway users. Therefore, the AIWA is determined to reduce the operations & maintenance backlog for the waterway and we want to share with you how our efforts are working to reduce the risk to the AIWW.

In the chart above, are three types of information. The first, depicted in the orange trend line is the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) backlog for the AIWW since 2017. This is the amount of funding needed to return the waterway to its authorized width and depth (please note amounts are estimates for planning purposes and not engineering cost estimates). As you can see, the overall amounts have decreased from $126 million to $56.5 million.

The orange bars show the annual O&M needs if the waterway was returned to its authorized widths and depths. The annual maintenance needs generally hovers around $50 million with the lowest amounts of $49.5 million from 2019-2021 and the highest of $61.5 million in 2023.

The white bars show the waterway funding over the 2017-2024 time span. This is the good news story for the waterway outside of the low appropriations amount in 2021. The funding is trending in an upward direction over the past five years. Over the past three years, we have received substantial, consistent funding for the AIWW averaging $49.3 million per year and includes projects in every state along the waterway. This level of funding is allowing us to reduce the backlog to match the annual maintenance need.

In summary, our efforts have been successful and we need to continue advocating for waterway funding to reduce the O&M backlog and ensure that projects are being conducted and planned in each state. We appreciate the support of all waterway stakeholders in raising awareness of the value of the AIWW. Please share this information with other stakeholders and encourage them to join the AIWA as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary. Membership information is available by clicking here.

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