Warrior-Tombigbee Association Sets Conference

The annual conference of the Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway Association will be held May 20–22 at the The Grand Hotel Golf Club & Spa in Point Clear, Ala., on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. The 69th annual meeting of the association, which connects business and industry on the Black Warrior River from as far north as Birmingham, Ala., to the Port of Mobile and to the Tennessee, Cumberland and Mississippi rivers via the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway, will feature reports from federal partners and business leaders, along with a keynote address from Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey.

The conference will launch with a golf tournament May 20 at the Lakewood Golf Club, part of Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. The first day of the conference will conclude with the annual early bird reception, held in The Grand’s Azalea Ballroom.

May 21, the first full day of the conference, starts with a trio of reports from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Coast Guard’s bridge administration branch. The Corps of Engineers presentation will cover the agency’s dredge schedule and operations/maintenance program for the months ahead, likely also touching on recent high water on both the Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway and the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The Coast Guard, likewise, traditionally discusses the status of aids to navigation on the waterway and offers a look ahead at bridge operations during hurricane season.

Ivey, instrumental in Alabama’s recently-passed infrastructure law, will deliver her keynote address during the May 21 luncheon. Ivey signed the Rebuild Alabama Act into law March 12 after announcing the plan on February 27. The centerpiece of the plan is a 10-cent increase in the state’s fuel tax (from 19 cents per gallon of diesel and 18 cents per gallon of gasoline to 29 cents and 28 cents, respectively). A portion of the revenue generated from the tax is slated to pay for channel improvements within the Port of Mobile.

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“Our annual meeting is going to be one of the best we have ever had, because we have Gov. Kay Ivey meeting with us,” said Larry Merrihew, president of the Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway Association. “Be sure, she will be discussing the transportation bill and its importance to the people of Alabama.

Following Ivey’s address, conference attendees will hear a report on Alabama’s economy from economist Reed Cummings. The conference will also feature reports on the Port of Mobile, the state’s forestry industry and the state of coal and steel manufacturing.

The Warrior-Tombigbee Waterways Association membership meeting will be held May 22, followed by the 2019 weather outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The conference will conclude with a look at how the Maritime Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation is supporting marine transportation, plus presentations from member organizations.

Registration for the conference is available at the association’s website, Hotel registration may be made through Marriott online or by phone at 800-455-3832. For more information, contact the Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway Association by phone at 251-431-9055.