I read in the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance news letter that a "bipartisan bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives calling for full use of import shipping assessment funds collected for their targeted purpose-maintaining U.S. harbors and waterways." I am not sure Congress can do anything in a bipartisan way but the bill H.R. 2396 is sponsored by a number of Democrats and Republicans.

Currently there is $9.3 billion in the trust fund but it cannot be used for the purpose it was collected until Congress actually appropriate the funds. This bill would make it easier for Congress to appropriate the money. Hopefully this would make it easier for the lock and dams on the Mississippi River to be upgraded too.

All tugboats on the Mississippi River pay a fuel tax that goes into a fund that must be used to maintain and upgrade the lock and dam system on the river. Some of the lock and dams have been in service for more that 100 years and need to be replaced. The tows need to be split apart and double locked through because the tows today are longer than the locks.

I have followed this issue for more than 20 years. The money is in the trust fund to replace the needed locks. It is seems like extreme environmental groups are opposed to using the Mississippi Rive for commercial transportation.