Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called on the Army Corps to direct unallocated resources to invest a total of $64 million in Southwestern Pennsylvania’s locks and dams. The Army Corps has some discretion to allocate resources within its budget, and investing in Pittsburgh’s locks and dams will make long overdue infrastructure improvements a reality while spurring job growth.
“Investing in the locks and dams in and around Pittsburgh will have a substantial impact on the region’s economy while making much needed upgrades to our waterways infrastructure,” Senator Casey said. “I’m urging the Administration to invest additional resources in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Making this investment will help our locks and dams remain a driving force in the economy for years to come.”
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter is below:
Dear Assistant Secretary Darcy:
As you work to prepare the Army Corps Fiscal Year 2015 work plan, I write to urge you to increase funding for the Lower Mon project. In order for this project to effectively move forward, we must allocate more funding than the $9.032 million that was included in the Omnibus appropriations bill. A funding level of $64 million would allow construction to begin on the River Chamber portion of the project along with supporting construction on existing contracts. Making a significant investment now will move the project forward, thereby spurring economic growth and job creation in the region for years to come.
During the last Congress, I introduced the RIVER Act, the bulk of which was included in the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) that became law. WRRDA’s passage freed up millions of dollars in funding for locks and dams projects across the country and it is critical that the Lower Mon project receive a significant portion of this new funding. The waterways system in southwestern Pennsylvania is suffering from crumbling and aging infrastructure that could seriously impair the transport of major commodities, if not properly maintained. Numerous industries rely on the river to transport their goods and materials. If the waterways system fails, business will suffer and industry would see a significant increase in the cost of moving goods, which will drive up prices and harm the economy. Moreover, independent studies indicate that nearly 200,000 jobs are supported by activity on the waterways in southwestern Pennsylvania, making up nearly 17 percent of the region’s workforce.
I firmly believe that investments in the Lower Mon’s locks and dams are vital to maintaining and creating jobs and supporting commerce. Alternatively, a failure to make a significant investment in this project at this time would have a negative and crippling effect on the economy both regionally and nationally. Thank you for your attention to this matter and for your continued support.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator