Does the President’s mention of infrastructure in his inaugural address mean there’s hope for waterway projects in Alabama?  Well, so far there’s no direct indication,  but there is eternal hope as the US House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) began hearings today on America’s “21st century infrastructure.”

In a statement released by T&I Committee and printed in the online version of the American Journal of Transportation, T&I Committee Chair Bill Shuster (R-PA) said a “strong infrastructure means a strong America…” but one that “will face significant challenges in the future.”

Mr. Shuster went  to say our “infrastructure policies have to keep pace with changing technologies” and President Trump’s election “raised the profile of infrastructure in the minds of the American people and policymakers…. (the) wind is at our backs, and it’s time to act on our infrastructure needs.”  Citing the need for a modern infrastructure, including “ports and waterways that let our farmers and manufacturers move their crops and products to remain competitive with other nations,” he said his vision is a modern infrastructure” where “transportation efficiency improves the bottom line for our job creators” who can “put more people to work.”

What all that means for Alabama’s waterways is to be determined as no doubt priority will be given to the main stem waterways.  The Alabama River needs to be dredged annually to maximize the potential of barge movements throughout the year.  CARIA will continue to work with the Alabama delegation in Washington toward that goal.