Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) joined the United States Army of Corps of Engineers in announcing $100,000 in emergency funding to dredge the St. Joseph harbor.
Over the past weeks, Upton has worked closely with local dock owners, Berrien County officials, and the Corps to reach a solution. The harbor, which is essential to jobs and economic activity in southwest Michigan, has become inaccessible to commercial traffic on account of severe shoaling. One instance of a commercial vessel grounding on the shoal has already occurred and several planned deliveries have already been put on hold.
“Ensuring the St. Joseph harbor remains open and ready for businesses is essential to jobs and growth in our region,” said Upton. “The harbor is a veritable gateway for economic growth in southwest Michigan. Allowing it to shut down for the season was not an option as it would not only be detrimental to area shippers, but have a ripple effect across the local economy. Thousands of local jobs and countless businesses are dependent upon these harbors, and harbor maintenance does not need to be another worry for southwest Michigan folks this year. I am very appreciative of all the work done by the Army Corps to see this dredging take place and have asked that work starts as soon as possible. Today’s announcement is welcomed news for everyone – we look forward to seeing the harbor return to fully operational status in the near future.”
Upton is a cosponsor of the bipartisan Realize America’s Maritime Promise (RAMP) Act (H.R. 104) to ensure that all funding collected through the federal Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is fully used for the intended purpose of harbor maintenance. Upton is also a signatory of a recent letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requesting that the RAMP Act be included in the administration’s budget for FY 2013.
Dredging Today Staff, December 22, 2011; Image: house.gov