ALEXANDRIA, Va. – During the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association’s (AIWA) annual meeting, scheduled for Nov. 15–16 in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the group will look at the current state of the waterway and steps to secure its future, BoatU.S. reported in a recent statement. BoatU.S. — The Boat Owners Association Of The United States — is a charter member of AIWA.
The meeting at Kingston Plantation will feature reports on the waterway’s status from the individual states it passes through to new strategies to “Keep the Waterway Working,” this year’s conference theme, according to the boaters’ association.
Two challenges face the waterway today, according to AIWA: minimal Congressional appropriations for maintenance and an awkward federal budgeting process that fails to recognize the waterway’s importance as an integral transportation system for waterborne commerce and recreational vessel traffic along the Eastern Seaboard, stated BoatU.S.
“We’re making steady progress at the federal level on both issues,” said Ryck Lydecker, AIWA vice chairman and BoatU.S. assistant vice president for Government Affairs. “But we are also working successfully with the state governments which are now realizing the critical need to find new funding solutions. The waterway is an economic engine for coastal communities and their small businesses, from marinas and hotels to boat repair yards, cargo terminals and visitor attractions. State officials now appreciate that fact.”
The conference begins on Thursday, Nov. 15 with reports from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is charged by Congress with maintaining the waterway. Panel discussions on the waterway’s economic importance follow, and strategy sessions for continued maintenance funding round out the program. A breakfast address on Friday, Nov. 16 will be given by Intracoastal Waterway historian and author William Crawford.
More information, plus on-line conference registration, is available at www.atlintracoastal.org.
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