Joint estimation of revealed and stated preference trip and willingness- to-pay data to estimate the benefits and impacts of an Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway dredging and maintenance program
Introduction The River and Harbor Act of 1910 (36 Stat. 630) provided for the establishment of a continuous inland waterway along the eastern and gulf coasts of the United States (USACE 2010). Congress authorized the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW) in 1919 and the entire waterway was completed in 1940 (AIWA 2010). The AIWW extends 1,200 miles from Norfolk, Virginia to Key West, Florida. Some lengths consist of natural inlets, salt-water rivers, bays, and sounds; others are man-made canals. The original purpose of this sheltered passageway was to provide commercial shipping with a safer alternative to navigation in the open Atlantic Ocean. Recreational use of the AIWW by marine recreational boaters, both as a route to ocean inlets and as a final destination, has grown tremendously since construction of the AIWW. The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for maintenance and operational dredging of the AIWW. The AIWW has an authorized navigable depth of 12 feet. It is currently maintained at depths ranging from six to 12 feet (USACE 2010). The average depth of the North Carolina portion of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway is ten feet. Federal funding for maintenance and operational dredging of the AIWW and its associated shallow draft inlets has diminished, causing numerous concerns for state and local government officials and those entities that rely on the AIWW for navigation and their livelihood. When government pursues a coastal management policy such as dredging or beach nourishment gains and losses are distributed among consumers and firms. The economic efficiency criterion requires that the gains to the winners exceed the losses imposed on the losers. Otherwise the criterion for efficiency is not met. Benefit-cost analysis is a method used to calculate and compare monetary gains and losses (Zerbe and Bellas 2006).