Last week, Congressman Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) highlighted economic importance of the Great Lakes and expressed his support for funding the projects that allow for harbor maintenance and dredging in the Lakes.
“The harbors and waterways play a vital role in our region’s economy. All said, the ports and channels in the Great Lakes Navigation System support over 128,000 jobs across the United States and bring in over $18.1 billion in revenue to our economy. Northern Michiganders know how important these waterways our to our way of life, and, as a member of the Great Lakes Task Force, I will continue to fight to ensure that they remain protected,” said Dr. Benishek, the only member of the Michigan delegation serving on the House Natural Resources Committee.
The House of Representatives is currently considering the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. The legislation includes funding for the United States Army Corps to dredge and maintain ports in Northern Michigan and throughout the entire country. Dr. Benishek has worked with his colleagues, including Rep. Huizenga of Holland, MI, to increase funding for these important assets in a bipartisan manner.
“The backlog of maintenance projects that the Corps is having difficulty getting to directly impacts the economy and jobs in Northern Michigan. The worst part is that the money is already there to pay for these projects. Shippers already pay a tax to use these ports and harbors, but the money is being diverted. I will continue to fight to ensure that these funds are being spent properly, so we can keep ships moving on the Great Lakes,” added Dr. Benishek.
Since coming to Congress in 2011, Dr. Benishek has been one of the leading voices in Congress fighting for proper funding of harbors in ports in Northern Michigan and throughout the country. Additionally, Dr. Benishek has been a strong supporter of legislation that will ensure that funds collected for harbor maintenance are used properly.
Press Release, July 14, 2014