Maintaining Our Waterways
Together, the five ports on the Lower Mississippi River are the largest port complex in the world, and transport significant portions of American goods. The Mississippi River and its tributaries run the distance from New Orleans to New York City—10 times over. Its waterways transport goods to and from 30 states and 2 Canadian provinces. In 2009, $13.4 Billion of agriculture products—including grain from the Midwest were exported along the Mississippi. Clearly, maintaining this critical artery is a national obligation. As such, I believe that now more than ever, the Army Corps of Engineers needs adequate funding to dredge the Mississippi River.
The Army Corps of Engineers maintains the Mississippi River‘s depth at 45 feet by removing sediment build-up, through a process known as dredging, to ensure waterways are deep enough for cargo ships to operate. The Corps needs augmented funding to keep pace with severe weather and new global standards, which come from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. This fund contains $6 Billion in shippers’ tax money set aside for this very purpose. Shutting down the River to commerce, through draft restrictions, is the consequence of failing to dredge.
In an opinion editorial on dredging, I wrote, “Draft restrictions are like reducing an interstate to a single lane and imposing size restrictions on vehicles because the roads were not maintained.” Congress must prevent the possibility of restrictions for the economic good of the entire nation.
Additional Resources on Dredging: