Five U.S. senators joined together in urging key appropriators to include funding for dredging small and low-use ports in the fiscal 2013 budget.
Small and low-use ports don’t have enough tonnage to meet the Army Corps of Engineers’ threshold to qualify for annual dredging support, but represent important economic engines of the communities they serve.
Those signing on to the letter were Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.; Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Carl Levin, D-Mich.; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
“As you work to fund our nation’s navigation infrastructure we ask that you take into consideration the needs of small coastal, including Great Lakes, waterways,” the senators wrote in their letter. “Our nation’s small ports and harbors serve as the lifeblood of their communities and greatly contribute to the nation’s economic vitality. … Without adequate funding, the navigation channels leading to these ports will silt in and the jetties protecting these communities will crumble.
“We urge you to include at least $30 million in additional [operations and maintenance] for small ports in the FY2013 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill,” the senators continued. “Leaving our nation’s small-port needs unmet threatens the jobs of our citizens and weakens our nation’s economic competitiveness. We look forward to working with you to address this issue and to continuing the effort to allow our small, remote and subsistence harbors to remain open for business.”