2019 Senate Joint Resolution 33
Relating to: the Mississippi River System.
Whereas, 30.3 million tons of commodities are shipped through Wisconsin annually by barges on the Mississippi River; and
Whereas, the displacement of that cargo would burden Wisconsin roads with 1.2 million additional trucks, spanning 17,215 miles bumper-to-bumper, or more than 69 percent of the earth's circumference; and
Whereas, barges move commodities through Wisconsin to and from 18 different states, as well as Canada and other nations; and
Whereas, waterways and ports support 26,850 Wisconsin jobs; and
Whereas, waterways transport $21.5 billion in manufactured goods, $4.3 billion in nonmetallic minerals, and $3 billion in agricultural and food products to and from Wisconsin; and
Whereas, the Mississippi River moves more than 60 percent of the nation's agricultural exports, constituting a vibrant transportation system without which the United States would lose its competitive advantage in the global marketplace; and
Whereas, 92 percent of the locks and dams on the Mississippi River System were constructed between 1907 and 1936 and intended primarily for steamboat traffic; and
Whereas, the U.S. Congress authorized modernization of seven locks on this system through the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, but has yet to fund construction; and
Whereas, the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, a public-private partnership, makes capital improvements to locks and dams through user fees on commercial diesel fuel; and
Whereas, the Environmental Protection Agency has found that transportation-related activity accounts for 33 percent of the nation's carbon dioxide pollutants, however, barge transportation boasts the smallest carbon footprint, emitting 30 percent less carbon dioxide than rail and 1,000 percent less than trucks, with similar results for particulate matter, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants; and
Whereas, river transportation is the most energy-efficient mode of moving commodities, pushing one ton of freight 647 miles on a single gallon of fuel, as compared with 477 miles by rail and 145 miles by truck; and
Whereas, the modernization of locks and dams on the Mississippi River System will create hundreds of millions of work hours for the region's cement masons, carpenters, pile drivers, divers, plumbers, pipefitters, operating engineers, electricians, laborers, iron workers, and other skilled workers in the building trades; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the senate, the assembly concurring, That the members of the Wisconsin Legislature support the modernization of seven locks authorized under the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program for the Upper Mississippi River System; and, be it further
Resolved, That the Wisconsin Legislature applauds affected industries for their unanimous and voluntary support in 2014 of increasing the user fee on commercial diesel fuel that provides revenue for the Inland Waterways Trust Fund; and, be it further
Resolved, That the Wisconsin Legislature urges prompt completion of these construction and rehabilitation projects that matches full use of the cost-share from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund; and, be it further
Resolved, That the Wisconsin Legislature pledges to work with carrier, shipping, and supply industries affected by the lock and dam infrastructure of the Mississippi River System, as well as industries affected by inland river navigation issues generally.