U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow, Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, and Gary Peters, member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to direct additional funding to Great Lakes navigation projects in FY2015.
In a letter to Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) and Lt. General Thomas Bostick, Commanding General of the Army Corps of Engineers, Sen. Stabenow and Sen. Peters along with nine colleagues called for additional resources to address the backlog of dredging and maintenance projects across Michigan and the Great Lakes region.
“While we appreciate the additional support you provided to Great Lakes navigation maintenance in FY2014, a backlog of unmet navigation system maintenance remains across the Great Lakes,” the letter stated. “Therefore, we urge the Corps to direct additional resources for Great Lakes navigation projects in FY2015. This additional support is sorely needed to address the lack of maintenance of our locks, breakwaters, and dredging needs, which continues to force vessels to light-load, grounds vessels, impedes safe navigation, and closes harbors.”
Sen. Stabenow has led the effort to make sure Michigan’s ports, harbors, and waterways are properly maintained, which is critical to supporting Michigan’s shipping, boating and tourism industries.
Last year, the Water Resources Development Act for the first time treated the Great Lakes as a single navigational system and increased funding for harbor maintenance.
Currently, only half of Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund dollars are on spent on actual harbor maintenance.