This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed several bipartisan bills including my Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund legislation. After more than a decade of work on this legislation, this is a much-needed win for Oregon and our nation’s coastal communities.
Our nation’s ports and harbors struggle to remain competitive in the global economy. Many even struggle to remain open to meet the needs of the communities that depend on vibrant maritime and fishing industries. Our local economies are hurting.
The problem is that currently, some of the funds that are being collected to dredge our commercial ports are being used for other purposes.
My Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund legislation will ensure that an estimated $34 billion to be collected in the next decade – will actually be used for harbor maintenance. This will provide essential federal funding to dredge harbor entrances like that in Gold Beach, which has been rendered virtually unusable, address the desperate need for jetty repair in places like Coos Bay, and improve the overall safety of our harbors. It’s long past time that we use these fees for their intended purpose, to boost the economies of our coastal communities!
It’s critical we keep our ports safe and well-maintained and allow our fishermen and our ship, tug, and barge operators to do their jobs.
As the Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and a representative of a district that relies heavily on these ports, I intend to do my job, David. And that means making sure the federal government follows through on its promises to our taxpayers.
You can guarantee that I’ll be pushing my colleagues in the Senate to take up these bills and pass them as soon as possible.