Schumer Supports Great Lakes Dredging Projects (USA)
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer released the following statement on the passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which includes critical language that will prioritize dredging in the Great Lakes navigation system.
In the past several months, Schumer has worked with the EPW committee to balance the needs of high-use, deep-draft ports like the Port of NY/NJ, while also supporting the specific recognition of the unique and long underserved Great Lakes navigation system. The language in the Senate-passed WRDA bill will substantively recognize the Great Lakes as an interconnected commercial navigation system for the first time and prioritize not less than 20 percent of the new, additional revenues coming into the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund annually for “projects that are a priority for navigation in the Great Lakes Navigation system.”
“For years, critical maintenance projects in the Great Lakes harbors, like Rochester, Oswego, Buffalo, Dunkirk and Ogdensburg have been at the back of the line for the dredging funding they rightfully deserve, and I am pleased to have helped create a unique Great Lakes prioritization program in this water resources bill,” said Senator Schumer. “This Senate-passed legislation will recognize for the first time that the Great Lakes is a one-of-a-kind, interconnected navigation system that must be dredged more often, so that commerce and trade can flow in and out of these Ports, and fuel Upstate New York businesses and jobs.”
Schumer has long supported reforms to Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund expenditures that would authorize levels of spending more in line with the amount of revenue being collected from shippers using the navigation system. The WRDA bill will authorize hundreds of millions of dollars of additional maintenance spending over the next decade to bring expenditures more in line with revenues. The Great Lakes prioritization language will insure that the Secretary of the Army, through the Chief of Engineers, prioritizes 20 percent of those new revenues for navigation projects in the Great Lakes.
While it is impossible at this point to speculate which harbors in the Great Lakes will be prioritized, the authorization is an important step in the fight to make sure additional funds are allocated to critical projects in this unique commercial navigation system. Schumer will now continue to fight to direct needed funding to maintenance dredging projects in New York’s Great Lakes harbors.
Press Release, May 17, 2013