Larsen Supports Water Resources Development Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep Rick Larsen (WA-02) issued the below statement ahead of voting for the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018.

“WRDA makes robust investments in the nation’s ports, channels, waterways and other critical infrastructure to keep the U.S. maritime system competitive. Maintaining the regular two-year reauthorization of this legislation is critical to the nation’s economy, will encourage new, good-paying maritime jobs and help to ensure a heathy environment in the Pacific Northwest,” said Larsen.

According to Washington’s Department of Commerce, the state’s maritime industry contributes more than $21 billion in gross business income and directly employs more than 69,500 people.

Puget Sound ports export the second highest amount of agricultural and forest products in the U.S. In 2015, more than 17 million tons of containerized cargo and 25 million tons of bulk and break bulk cargo passed through Washington’s ports to or from foreign countries.

“Small ports like the Ports of Skagit and Bellingham create jobs and drive economic activity across various sectors from fishing and manufacturing, to shipbuilding and recreation. Maintaining and building infrastructure at these ports is critical for development,” said Larsen.

Congressman Larsen also successfully included an amendment to improve available resources for the Puget Sound Adjacent Waters Restoration program (PSAW). Specifically, it doubles the per-project funding cap to $10 million and raises the overall authorization level an additional $20 million. 

Local projects that could be impacted by WRDA and Army Corps of Engineers’ funding:

·         The Swinomish Channel, located in La Conner and managed by the Port of Skagit, needs a new cycle of dredging.

·         Goat Island Jetty needs to be raised to reduce sedimentation in the Swinomish Chanel and future dredging costs.

·         The Squalicum Waterway, near the Port of Bellingham, needs maintenance dredging due to heavy sedimentation. Without it, businesses near the Squalicum Waterway risk losing important shipping access.

·         The Port of Seattle Harbor Navigation Improvement project will help deepen and widen the channel to improve commercial navigation efficiency in the East and West Waterways.

·         Expediting the feasibility study for the Port of Tacoma Harbor navigation project to assist with pre-construction planning, design and engineering phases.

 

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