Congressman Patrick Meehan yesterday joined Representative Donald Norcross for a tour and inspection of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Dredger McFarland, a 300-foot-long deep-draft hopper dredge on the Delaware River.
The McFarlandis is conducting dredging operations to deepen the Delaware River’s shipping channel from 40’ to 45’.
“Pennsylvania’s workers can compete with anyone in the world, but in order to succeed, we must be able to get the goods we make into the hands of consumers,” said Congressman Meehan.
“Deepening this channel will enable newer, larger ships to access our ports and ease the export of goods made here to markets overseas. It will keep us competitive with other ports along our eastern seaboard. This project isn’t just an economic issue. It’s an environmental safety issue, too. It will make the transit of ships carrying oil, natural gas and other materials along our shores less prone to incident by improving navigation and removing obstacles.”
While aboard, Meehan touted the success of the deepening project and reaffirmed his commitment to securing funding for its completion. First authorized by Congress in 1992, deepening commenced in 2010 and is scheduled for completion in 2017.
“I’m pleased that after years of delay, this project is fully underway. Millions of cubic yards of sand, clay and gravel have been moved already and the Corps believes the project is on track to finish in 2017. I’m committed to working with my colleagues from the region on both sides of the aisle to ensure Washington holds up its end of the bargain and funds the deepening through its completion,” he said.
Meehan has long been a leader in the fight to secure funding for the dredging project, working closely with Democrats like Representative Bob Brady to ensure unwavering federal commitment to the project.