WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) today announced a total of $16.864 million in funding to deepen the Delaware River shipping channel. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers posted the funding decision on its website today.
“This project will have a significant, positive economic impact on Delaware and the region,” Senator Carper said. “Investments like this one are critical to the long-term development of the Port of Wilmington and Delaware, as well as the other states along the Delaware River, to help us continue our economic recovery and to stay competitive. As we move forward with this important economic investment, we need to be good stewards of our environment and protect that resource as well.”
“Deepening the Delaware River will bring enormous benefits to our state and has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs in our region,” Senator Coons said. “It will help ensure the Port of Wilmington remains competitive as the Panama Canal expands, and will provide long-term security for the Port as it works to leverage private investment. After listening carefully to Delawareans, I believe this project delivers on their desire to create jobs while also protecting our environment.”
This project deepens the Delaware River channel from 40 to 45 feet in order to accommodate larger vessels. This will reduce shipping costs and make maritime transportation more efficient, bringing more trade and making our region more attractive to private investment. The project is expected to create an estimated 75,000 direct and indirect jobs throughout the Delaware Valley. This includes permanent, high-paying jobs as well as short-term construction jobs that will aid an industry hit hard by the economic downturn.
Senators Coons, Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) filed a bipartisan amendment, cosponsored by Senator Carper, to the FY 2012 appropriations bill that sought to increase federal funding for ongoing navigation projects. The final FY 2012 appropriations bill included $74 million for the account, which was used to fund the Delaware River deepening as well as other projects across the country.
Additionally, Senators Carper, Coons, and Casey sent letters to Assistant Secretary of the Army-Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy and the Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew in December asking for additional funding for the dredging project.