Washington Waves
Washington Waves

Water Resources Development Proposals Sought

Washington, D.C.—The assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works is soliciting proposals from non-federal interests for inclusion in the 2025 annual report to Congress on future water resources development.

Proposals must be submitted by August 30, and the forms can be emailed to WRRDA7001Proposal@usace.army.mil.

Authorized by a 2014 law, the annual report includes proposals submitted by nonfederal interests for new feasibility studies, proposed modifications to authorized water resources development projects or feasibility studies and proposed modifications to environmental infrastructure program authorities.

It provides Congress with a list of potential studies and projects to newly authorize and a list of existing study, project and environmental infrastructure program authorities to modify.

If a proposal from a non-federal interest for a new study authorization is included in the annual report, it is anticipated that authorization would be for the study, not for construction.

For additional information on the annual report, visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters website at www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Project-Planning/WRRDA-7001-Proposals, email WRRDA7001Proposal@usace.army.mil or call Michele Gomez at 202-761-7193.

Towing Vessel Modifications

Owners and managing operators of towing vessels inspected under 46 CFR subchapter M should work directly with the cognizant Coast Guard officer in charge, marine inspections (OCMI) when modifications are made, two agencies stated.

“First, due to the unique conditions and systems on inspected towing vessels, no two modifications or replacements will be identical,” said the Coast Guard Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance (CG-CVC) and Marine Safety Center (MSC).

They added that the OCMI will review the standards for a repair proposal, modification or upgrade based on its own individual merits because each decision is based on the individual evidence presented for a particular vessel.

Individual decisions are not intended to be used as a basis for broad-sweeping requirements to the towing industry or to disincentivize upgrades to existing vessels in the interest of improved safety.

They also reviewed the history of the intent of the “replacement in kind” definition in the 46 CFR subchapter M – towing vessel regulations.

For additional information, contact CGCVC@uscg.mil.

Shipbuilding Capability

Citing Waterways Commerce Cutters (WCC) and similar programs, a key House member urged the Coast Guard to work with the shipbuilding industry to build up an industrial base capable of producing world-class cutters and other vessels.

Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Mich.), ranking member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security, spoke during the panel’s hearing on major problems with the Coast Guard’s shipbuilding and acquisition process.

WCCs play an important role in maintaining 28,000 marine aids to navigation on 12,000 miles of inland waterways.

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Coast Guard WCC’s program envisions procuring 30 replacements for 35 aging river buoy tenders, inland construction tenders and inland buoy tenders.

“The Coast Guard wants to have the first new WCC be in service by 2025,” CRS stated last month.

A portion of the House hearing focused specifically on the Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) and Polar Security Cutter (PSC) programs.

In its testimony, the Government Accountability Office, which had looked at those two highest priority programs previously, found the Coast Guard had not stabilized designs, leading to portions of the OPC to be redesigned and contributing to delays of the lead ship by almost four years.

With demand for the Coast Guard’s services increasing, Chairman Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.), stressed it must deliver what Congress tasks it to do.

Maritime Day

The Maritime Administration (MarAd) previewed National Maritime Day 2024, which, according to annual tradition, will be celebrated on May 22.

“The United States has always been and will always be a great maritime nation,” MarAd stated.

“From our origins as 13 British colonies, through every period of peace and conflict since, the Merchant Marine has been a pillar in this country’s foundation of prosperity and security.” MarAd praised mariners for powering the world’s largest economy and strengthening U.S. ties with trading partners around the world, all while supporting the nation’s military forces by shipping troops and supplies wherever they need to go.

Great Lakes Restoration

A key Senate committee advanced the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act of 2024 to extend that program for another five years and boost annual funding authorizations from $475 million to $500 million through 2031.

Approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee by a voice vote, S.3738 now awaits a floor vote in the Senate.

“This bill will ensure the stability and future of the program as we address new emerging threats to our Great Lakes and waters,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who introduced the bill and serves as the co-chair of the U.S. Senate Great Lakes Task Force.

First sponsored by Stabenow in 2010, the GLRI has focused federal and nonfederal efforts to stop the spread of carp and other invasive species, restore coastline and habitats connecting our streams and rivers, clean up environmentally damaged Areas of Concern and prevent future contamination.

AI Opportunities

The Department of Transportation’s Advanced Research Projects Agency—Infrastructure (ARPA– I) issued a Request for Information (RFI) on potential applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in transportation as well as emerging challenges and opportunities in creating and deploying AI technologies across all modes of transportation.

A 60-day comment period closes July 2.

Written comments may be submitted to Docket No. DOT-OST-2024-0049 via www.regulations.gov.

The purpose of this RFI is to obtain input from a broad array of stakeholders on AI opportunities, challenges and related issues in transportation pursuant to Executive Order 14110 of October 30, 2023, titled ‘‘Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence.’’

For additional information about the RFI, email ARPA-I@dot.gov or contact Timothy Klein at 202-366-0075) or timothy.klein@dot.gov.