WASHINGTON – The National Marine Manufacturers Association is pleased by the creation of the Congressional Waterways Caucus, which was launched Thursday and currently has 54 members, NMMA said in a press release yesterday.
"The creation of the Congressional Waterways Caucus is a momentous step in the right direction for protecting these valuable boating resources," said Monita Fontaine, NMMA vice president of government relations. "Congress needs to act now to properly fund programs that will protect and maintain our nation's waterways or more of them will fall into disrepair and become unsafe and unusable for boaters. NMMA will work with the Congressional Waterways Caucus and the members of our Congressional Boating Caucus to ensure waterways issues receive the attention they deserve."
NMMA said it believes America's waterways are in dire straits due to a lack of funding for maintenance programs, particularly funding of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has the responsibility of maintaining the country's navigable waterways, according to the association.
"The current formula for deciding the value of an inland waterway does not take into account use by recreational boaters and sport fishing vessels or the businesses that support them," said Fontaine. "These are important factors that should be included when calculating the funding levels waterways programs receive. NMMA will work with this caucus to change this and secure funding for maintenance programs so boaters and all Americans can continue to enjoy our waterways."