Casey, Coons, Carper Push for Investment in Job-Creating Delaware Deepening Project in Upcoming Budget

In Letter to Key Administration Officials, Senators Cite Economic Benefits of Deepening the Delaware / Project Will Increase Economic Activity by $13 Per Year, Create Jobs

Casey, Coons, Carper Push for Investment in Job-Creating Delaware Deepening Project in Upcoming Budget

Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) Chris Coons (D-DE) and Tom Carper (D-DE) announced that they have sent a letter to key Administration officials urging them to commit to investing in the Delaware Deepening project as they prepare their fiscal year 2015 budget (FY15). The letter, to Assistant Secretary for Civil Works at the Department of the Army and  Office and Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, makes the economic case for finishing this project which is well on its way to completion. This initiative will increase economic activity by $13 million per year and create and sustain thousands of jobs. Casey, Coons, and Carper have repeatedly pushed for, and have been successful in delivering, funds to this project. Deepening the Delaware will have a significant impact on job creation and allow the region’s ports to continue as national leaders.

The project has continued to progress and now needs funding for a complex portion, which includes rock removal. The Senators wrote, “Without sufficient funding in FY 2015, it is possible that the Corps would have to wait at least another year before starting the rock removal or to break the rock contract into a series of segments, which will significantly increase the time needed to complete the project and the attendant cost.”

The full text of the Senators’ letter can be seen below:

The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary for Civil Works
Department of the Army

The Honorable Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Director
Office of Management and Budget

Dear Secretary Darcy and Director Burwell:

We write in support of funding for the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project in the President’s FY 2015 budget.  Continuing the progress made to date is vitally important to the prosperity of the Delaware River regional economy.  Inclusion of adequate funding in the budget will help ensure that the project is finished by its target completion date in 2017. 

The purpose of this project, which has received federal funding since 1999, is to deepen the existing Delaware River navigation channel from 40 to 45 feet from the mouth of Delaware Bay up to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Camden, New Jersey.  The deeper channel will allow for increased cargo and petroleum and natural gas shipments to reach ports more efficiently, which the Corps estimates will result in more than $13 million in additional economic activity annually. Moreover, the expansion of the Panama Canal will bring significantly more traffic to ports along the East Coast.  The Philadelphia region must be prepared to receive vessels with deeper drafts and increased exports from regional industries in order to remain competitive in the global economy.   

At this point in the project, the schedule calls for underwater rock removal to occur in FY 2015 in Reach B.  From technical, cost, environmental impact and safety perspectives, the rock removal by blasting is the most complex section of deepening the channel.  The entire effort needs to be completed during a tight environmental window in a safe manner that would have minimal impacts to fisheries, vessel traffic and adjacent port facilities.  Without sufficient funding in FY 2015, it is possible that the Corps would have to wait at least another year before starting the rock removal or to break the rock contract into a series of segments, which will significantly increase the time needed to complete the project and the attendant cost.

We appreciate the President’s commitment to deepening the Delaware River as demonstrated by the inclusion of the project in both his FY 2013 and FY 2014 budgets.  As the project moves closer to completion, we ask for your continued support and stand ready to assist you in this effort.  Thank you for your attention to our views.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senate

Christopher A. Coons
United States Senate

Tom Carper
United States Senate

Press Contact

John Rizzo (Casey) 202-228-6367
Ian Koski (Coons) 202-224-5042
Rob Runyan (Carper) 202-224-2441