More Funds Needed for Lake Charles Dredging
Following an announcement by the Lake Charles River Pilots that the draft of the Calcasieu Ship Channel will be reduced because of insufficient funding to dredge the channel, U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., a Senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is pressing the Administration to invest more in the nation’s waterways.
The channel will be reduced from 40 feet to 39 feet for ships with beams of 106 feet or less and 38 feet for larger ships. The Calcasieu Ship Channel connects the Port of Lake Charles, one of the top 15 ports in the nation by tonnage, with the Gulf of Mexico and is poised to become the nation’s leading exporter of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
In a letter to President Obama, Sen. Landrieu stressed that the systemic underfunding of the nation’s waterways is eroding competitive advantage and compromising ongoing economic growth in Louisiana and across the country. Read Sen. Landrieu’s letter here.
“Two LNG facilities valued at $20 billion will soon be exporting LNG and additional projects will bring a total of $70 billion in planned investments along the channel in the coming years. When these projects are fully operational, the Federal Treasury will receive an estimated $1.2 billion annually from the Port of Lake Charles and its tenants, a $450 million increase over the $750 million it currently contributes to the Federal Treasury every year, yet the Port does not have the federal partner it needs,” wrote Sen. Landrieu.
“In your most recent budget request, you provided less than $11 million to maintain this channel, a 28% cut in funding from the previous year and well below the $30 – $40 million needed to maintain Congressionally authorized dimensions. Last month, I was honored to host our mutual friend and the new Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Shaun Donovan, for a tour of the Port of New Orleans and a roundtable discussion about the importance of investing in our nation’s waterways. As you work together to craft your budget proposal for fiscal year 2016, I strongly encourage you to reverse this trend and increase federal investments in our waterways.”
Last month, Sen. Landrieu announced a $10 million grant for the Port of Lake Charles through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Grant Program. The grant will expand the Port’s Bulk Terminal, creating 1,500 construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs at the Port.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Landrieu helped to secure $600 million in the FY14 Appropriations Act for the TIGER discretionary grant program despite strong opposition from the House of Representatives.