Washington, DC- Following passage of a congressional budget, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has sent a letter to the Administration urging the Army Corps to direct yet unallocated resources to Southwestern Pennsylvania’s locks and dams. With the budget’s passages the Army Corps has some discretion to allocate resources within its budget. 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 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 can be seen below:
The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)
Dear Assistant Secretary Darcy:
As you work to prepare the Army Corps Fiscal Year 2014 work plan, I write to urge you to increase funding for the Lower Mon project. In order to allow this project to move forward we must allocate more funding than the $1.96 million that was included in the Omnibus appropriations bill. Making a significant investment now will move the project forward, thereby spurring economic growth and job creation in the region for years to come.
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. The locks that need to be replaced as part of the project are over 100 years old and have significant structural, mechanical and hydraulic problems. Numerous industries rely on the river to transport their 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 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 effect on the economy both regionally and nationally. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator