U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) joined twelve of his colleagues from Great Lakes states in sending a letter to leaders of a House-Senate conference committee considering major water resources legislation, asking them to include funding for vital Great Lakes navigation projects as they resolve differences between House and Senate bills.
In the letter, Portman and his colleagues underscore the importance of adequate funding: “Despite the benefits the Great Lakes Navigation System provides, inadequate funding and maintenance has resulted in a tremendous backlog of dredging projects that has forced vessels to light load, grounded vessels, impeded safe navigation, and closed harbors and threatened other harbors with closure… The impacts of the lack of dredging and other required maintenance, including lock improvements, breakwater repairs, and construction of dredged material disposal facilities, have economic consequences that hinder economic growth.”
This letter is the latest in a series of important steps Portman has taken to protect and promote robust commerce on our Great Lakes.
In February 2013, Portman cosponsored the Harbor Maintenance Act, bipartisan legislation to help ensure that funds collected for maintaining and operating federal ports, harbors, and channels are fully used for their intended purpose. Portman was a co-sponsor of similar legislation in the 112th Congress.
In July 2012, Portman fought to include a provision in the transportation bill signed into law by the President expressing the Sense of the Congress that the Administration should request and Congress should fully expend each year all of the revenues collected in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for the operation and maintenance of the nation’s federally maintained ports. Portman then followed-up on this legislative success by joining a bipartisan letter to then-OMB Director Jeffrey Zients calling for the Administration to honor the will the Congress.
Earlier this year, Portman also worked to secure funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repair the Great Lakes ports, harbors, and waterways that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy, including the repair of the Cleveland Harbor’s breakwater and for dredging of the Harbor.
Press Release, November 27, 2013