United States: The Problem of Aging Infrastructure on Inland Waterways
Nov 5, 2013 | 11:35 GMT
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The United States continues to face the problem of aging infrastructure on major water-based transport routes. A new waterways bill that is likely to be finalized soon — the first such legislation since 2007 — addresses some of the inefficiencies in the current system. However, the larger looming problem of insufficient funding remains. The U.S. inland waterways infrastructure is old, much-needed improvements have been delayed and the total cost of rehabilitation is expected to rise.
This is not a new or unknown problem, but measures to address the problem have been limited, and there is no immediate, rapid solution. Navigable rivers are one of the United States' inherent geographic benefits and have contributed to the nation's economic success. Failure to update and maintain the inland waterways could lead to disruptions in the supply chain and hurt U.S. competitiveness on the global export market.