Page 13 - Mid America Boating - January 2022 issue
P. 13

BoatUS: Signing of

      infrastructure bill is good for

      recreational boaters, anglers

      With President Biden’s November 2021 signing   boating equipment.
      of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure   “The reauthorization of Sport Fish is the
      Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), you may have   cornerstone of so much of what recreational
      mistakenly thought that only road, bridge, rail,   boaters and anglers connect to while on the
      power and water infrastructure, public transit,   water,” said BoatUS Manager of Government
      drinking and wastewater, high speed internet,   Affairs David Kennedy. He adds, “BoatUS
      environmental, and clean energy interests may   greatly thanks Sport Fish reauthorization                                                            13     [     MID-AMERICA BOATING     ]     JANUARY/FEBRUAR 2022
      benefit. The nation’s largest advocacy, services,   bill sponsors,  Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
      and safety group, Boat Owners Association of   and Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Reps. Debbie
      The United States (BoatUS), says recreation-  Dingell (D-MI) and Garett Graves (R-LA).
      al boaters also made some significant gains   Their bipartisanship is a big plus for boaters
      on the bill touted as a “once-in-a-generation   and anglers.”
      investment in our infrastructure.”      Sport Fish reauthorization will also pay
        The biggest payoff for boaters with the IIJA   for a comprehensive study on the growing
      comes the reauthorization of the “Sport Fish   number  of  nonmotorized  paddlecraft,  resul-
      Restoration, Recreational Boating Safety,   tant user conflicts, and potential for increased
      and Wildlife Restoration Act of 2021,” which   accidents. Kennedy notes that while paddlec-
      provides funding for state-based conservation   raft operators utilize launch ramps and other
      programs,  boating  safety,  aquatic  resources   recreational boating facilities, “they do not
      education, pumpout, derelict vessel, fisheries   currently pay into the trust fund, and we need
      management and restoration.           to look at how to equitably fund waterway
        ‘Sport Fish’ also funds recreational boat   access points.”
      access,  such  as  local  launch  ramps,  as  well   IIJA also provides funds to US Army Corps
      as the highly popular Boating Infrastructure   of Engineers and other water-resource proj-
      Grant (BIG) program that grows the availabil-  ects, including inland waterways construc-
      ity of safe and protected harborage for over-  tion,  flood  control,  resiliency,  watershed
      night, transient boaters. A “user pay – public   rehabilitation, aquatic ecosystem restoration,
      benefit”  funding  mechanism,  Sport  Fish’s   invasive species control, marine debris
      nearly $650 million trust fund budget comes   removal, and inland and coastal navigation
      from boat fuel taxes and excise taxes paid by   projects — all good things to any boater’s or
      boaters and anglers purchasing fishing and   angler’s ear. MAB
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