Pacific Northwest Waterways Association announced on Feb. 9 over $13 million allocated for navigation projects in the Pacific Northwest. The additional funding was approved as part of the FY2012 work plan for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
A total of $173 million was budgeted nationwide for additional maintenance and operations projects to include more than $30 million for harbor maintenance; $30 million for inland waterways maintenance; and $55 million for deep draft harbor and channel harbor maintenance. Funding will support critical navigation projects on the Columbia and lower Willamette rivers, including the navigation channel and locks system.
“Garnering additional federal support for navigation channel and lock system operations and maintenance is great news for this region,” said Sam Ruda, Chief Commercial Officer for the Port of Portland. “Much like funding for roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure, river system maintenance is vital to our economy, supporting jobs and businesses throughout the Pacific Northwest.”
Tenants and customers that depend on the Port of Portland and the other private and public marine terminals along the river system will benefit from the improvements made possible with this funding. The Columbia Snake River System is the third-largest grain export gateway in the world. Its deep draft channel supports more than 40 million tons of cargo each year, valued at $20 billion. The inland system supports more than 10 million tons of cargo annually, valued at $3 billion.