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INLAND WATERWAYS TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY TESTIFIES IN OPPOSITION OF 525 PERCENT FUEL TAX INCREASE

Quintupled User Tax Payments Would Exceed Industry's Pre-Tax Profits
 WASHINGTON, March 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Hammered by the prospect of a proposed 525 percent fuel tax increase, the nation's inland waterway transportation industry today appealed to the House Ways and Means Committee to reject the proposed diesel fuel tax increase and "enable the barge and towing industry to continue to support and enhance our domestic and export economies."
 The waterways user tax proposed by the administration Feb. 18 would raise the diesel fuel tax burden on the inland barge industry from 19 cents per gallon to $1.19 per gallon -- a 525 percent hike. "This proposed tax, if enacted, would capture approximately 25 percent of the industry's annual revenues. No industry in America could survive such a blow," said Joe Farrell, president of the American Waterways Operators, the national trade association of the inland and coastal barge and towing industry, in testimony today before the House Ways and Means Committee.
 Farrell pointed out that President Clinton himself seems to have acknowledged that the proposed tax was wrong. Farrell said that in a March 1 CBS News interview, the president stated that the inland waterways fuel tax issue "needs to be re-examined."
 Describing the economic impacts of the tax proposal, Farrell said: "Theeapolis to New Orleans would increase by $70,000. One needs to understand, in order to grasp the true consequences of this proposed tax, that this industry's vessels make 125,000 trips in a given year.
 "President Clinton has rightly underscored the need to provide funds to maintain and enhance America's infrastructure to spur economic growth and prosperity. The barge and towing industry, which provides more onboard jobs than any other in the maritime sector, is the marine component of this infrastructure, and is the most productive mode of transportation. One would thus expect that rather than quintupling the inland fuel tax on top of leveling a BTU tax, the federal government should be boosting this transportation mode by investing in it to further enhance its productivity," Farrell said.
 "Because this fuel tax increase will in fact encourage only divestment in waterways infrastructure, we submit that it is grossly inconsistent with the stated aims of the administration's economic plan, and should therefore be abandoned."
 -0- 3/17/93
 /NOTE: Call the contact for the full text of Farrell's testimony./
 /CONTACT: Jeffrey A. Smith or Curtis E. Whalen of the American Waterways Operators, 703-841-9300 or fax, 703-841-0389/


CO: American Waterways Operators ST: District of Columbia IN: MAR OIL SU: EXE

TW -- DC004 -- 6905 03/17/93 09:09 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 17, 1993
Words:427
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