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Congresswoman Louise Slaughter

Representing the 25th District of New York

Slaughter Leads Effort to Secure More Funding for the Great Lakes Navigation System

April 21, 2016
Press Release
Highlights its important role in commerce and impact on our economy

WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-25) today led 35 colleagues in an effort to secure more funding for the Great Lakes Navigation System (GLNS) as the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure begins to write the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) reauthorization later this year. Slaughter is working to secure stable operations and maintenance funding for GLNS as part of this bill.  

“The Great Lakes Navigation System plays an essential role in the daily commerce of the Great Lakes region, often serving as the least expensive mode of shipping in the Midwest. It saves American customers $3.6 billion annually in freight costs, while also creating jobs for our manufacturers, construction workers, and energy providers,” wrote Rep. Slaughter, who was joined by 35 colleagues. “As you work on 2016 Water Resources Development Act reauthorization legislation, we urge you to recognize the importance of investing in the Great Lakes Navigation System and the critical impact it has on our economy.”

Slaughter is working to ensure that the WRDA being drafted later this year improves on past versions of the bill by providing vital operations and maintenance funding for the Great Lakes Navigation System. She is providing the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure with specific legislative language to make this a reality.    

The letter is below and available online here:

     April 21, 2016

 

The Honorable Bill Shuster                                         The Honorable Peter A. DeFazio

Chairman                                                                      Ranking member

Committee on Transportation and                                Committee on Transportation and

Infrastructure                                                                Infrastructure

2165 Rayburn House Office Building                          2165 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515                                                Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairmen Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio:

We write to emphasize the importance of the Great Lakes Navigation System (GLNS) as the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure looks to write a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) this year.   The GLNS plays an essential role in the daily commerce of the Great Lakes region, often serving as the least expensive mode of shipping in the Midwest. It saves American customers $3.6 billion annually in freight costs, while also creating jobs for our manufacturers, construction workers, and energy providers.

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA 2014) recognized the importance of the GLNS by providing an allocation of 10% of annual “priority” Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) spending for the GLNS.  Since the Senate and House Appropriations Committees do not assign funds specifically as either “baseline” or “priority” HMTF funding, however, HMTF allocations must be authorized to apply to both in order for Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) legislation to provide effective guidance to the Appropriations process.  WRRDA 2014 did this only for “emerging harbors”.  We ask that you provide the same treatment for the GLNS in the 2016 WRDA reauthorization as WRRDA 2014 did for “emerging harbors”.  Please find attached the specific legislative language we request.

GLNS funding is critical to the financial and commercial health of the Great Lakes region. More than 17 million cubic yards of sediment remain to be dredged from navigation channels, and a repeat of the unexpected closures of the MacArthur Lock and Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, MI experienced in the summer of 2015 could seriously damage our economy.  Our attached request would help to providing an adequate and stable rate of operations and maintenance funding for the GLNS.  As you work on 2016 WRDA reauthorization legislation, we urge you to recognize the importance of investing in the GLNS and the critical impact it has on our economy. 

Thank you for your attention and consideration.

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