Washington, DC- Ahead of the Administration’s expected budget release on February 2nd, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, pressing the Administration to include significant investment in the Delaware Deepening project in its budget. In his letter Casey made the case that investing in the project will create jobs in the region and bolster economic growth. Deepening the Delaware to allow larger ships to come into the Port of Philadelphia is estimated to add 2.5 million more tons of cargo there. The Port of Philadelphia currently supports 8,100 direct jobs and 30,000 indirect jobs which would be in jeopardy should this project, which allows the Port of Philadelphia to compete with other ports across the country, not be completed.
“Deepening the Delaware has to the potential to be an economic catalyst for all of Southeastern Pennsylvania. I’ve worked to secure significant investment in this project because it will create jobs and allow the Port of Philadelphia to compete with other ports throughout the country” Senator Casey said. “This project is now on the precipice of completion and it’s critical that Administration prioritize deepening the Delaware in its upcoming budget.”
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:
Dear Mr. McDonough:
I write to you today to take the opportunity to direct your attention to the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project. Investing in this project will bolster the competiveness of our exporters which aligns with the Administration’s goal of doubling exports. This project will directly impact job creation and retention in a region that has faced significant challenges as a result of the recession. This project is a top priority of mine and I have worked with my colleagues in Delaware and Pennsylvania to move this project forward. The Administration’s continued support will be vital to completing this project on schedule.
As you may be aware, this project calls for the deepening of the channel from forty to forty-five feet in order to accommodate larger vessels. It is my understanding that once the channel is deepened; there will be an increase of 2.5 million tons of cargo to the Port of Philadelphia. With the upcoming completion of the expansion of the Panama Canal, I remain committed to ensuring that Philadelphia is able to receive Post-Panamax vessels. In addition, this project will contribute to the efficiency of maritime transportation, strengthen the safety of the channel, reduce shipping costs, and spur economic activity in the region.
This project also presents an opportunity to retain and create jobs. Once the project is completed, the increase in traffic to the Port of Philadelphia will create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the region. Moreover, this initiative will create thousands of short-term construction jobs and in turn aid an industry that has suffered significantly in this economic climate. I am informed that operations at the Port of Philadelphia currently support 8,100 direct jobs and over 30,000 indirect jobs. If this project does not move forward, jobs will be in jeopardy because shippers will inevitably go to other ports that can accommodate larger vessels.
This project enjoys the strong support of the federal and state delegations representing the Delaware Valley, the labor community, the business community and economic development organizations representing the region. This diverse array of stakeholders has come together in support of this project because they all recognize that it will create jobs and position the Philadelphia region for future economic growth.
Your leadership is necessary to move this project forward. Specifically, I am calling on the Administration to include additional funding for this project in the Army Corps’ fiscal 2015 work plan and the President’s fiscal year 2016 budget. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator