I believe accessible waterway transportation is vital to the current and future economic prosperity of our nation. It is much cheaper to transport many commodities by water than by other means, and there are thousands of jobs along our nation's inland waterway system that are either directly or indirectly supported by our maritime industry. I also believe that it will be difficult, if not impossible, for our nation's highways and rail lines to handle the volume of international trade that is projected to double over the next decade. The only realistic solution is more utilization of our nation’s inland waterway system for cargo transportation needs.
Therefore, throughout my career, I have been an advocate for inland waterways issues at both the state and national level for not only the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) but all of the navigable waterways of the U.S. Some of my goals include ensuring that all of our citizens -- in my state and across the country -- understand how important waterway transportation is. I am also bringing attention to the fact that if we do not repair and preserve the infrastructure on our nation's waterways, we will lose them and the economic benefits they provide.
Robert Portiss is the Port Director for the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority that manages and operates the Tulsa Port of Catoosa.