The civil works funding allocated to the Corps of Engineers must be increased in order to properly maintain the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW.) This was the message Corps representatives gave members of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association (AIWA) at their second annual meeting on November 16 and 17.
About 70 members of the organization assembled at the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston South Carolina for the meeting. They were towing companies engineering firms dredging contractors and other companies with an economic interest in the waterway.
One segment of the economy with a stake in the waterway is the recreational boating industry a multi-billion-dollar industry which uses the AIWW heavily but is not included in the cost/benefit equation when allocating funds for maintenance. Ironically the lack of maintenance of the waterway has reduced it to as little as three and a half feet in places and driven away commercial barge traffic a use that is included in the cost/benefit ratio.
The message given to the recreational boating industry at the meeting was to become as vocal as possible in demanding funding to dredge the waterway. The channel is authorized to 12 feet from Norfolk to Miami and so Congress need only allocate the funding which could be accomplished as early as fiscal year 2002.