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Maffei and Hanna Push for Strong Water Resources Development Act

OSWEGO, NY – During a tour of the Port of Oswego today (Aug.7), Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY) and Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) announced a new effort to pass a strong Water Resources Development Act and bring critical support and infrastructure improvements to Central New York ports and the Great Lakes region.

This legislation will significantly impact water-related infrastructure in Central New York.

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY) addresses the media Wednesday afternoon at the Oswego Port Authority. At left is Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY).
Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY) addresses the media Wednesday afternoon at the Oswego Port Authority. At left is Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY).

Maffei and Hanna are partnering together along with other local leaders to push for provisions to be included in WRDA that ensure adequate resources are provided for dredging and other critical needs that will protect the long-term economic viability of the Port of Oswego and the surrounding Great Lakes water infrastructure.

Maffei and Hanna also emphasized their support for H.R. 2273, new legislation that will authorize the Great Lakes Navigation System as a single, integrated system, an approach that allows for enhanced rehabilitation and expansion of the regional infrastructure network that connects the Port of Oswego and the Great Lakes, with trade around the world.  Maffei and Hanna both represent the southeastern coast of Lake Ontario.

“The Port of Oswego is a vital economic anchor that supports thousands of jobs in our region,” said Maffei.  “I am honored to partner with Rep. Hanna and work together to push for a strong WRDA and to consolidate our Great Lakes network. Creating jobs, strengthening our middle class, and spurring our local economy are my top priorities. In order to achieve these goals, we must make the right investments in our port and our local water infrastructure which is so important to our economy and businesses in Central New York. We will continue to work together to do everything we can to push for resources and improvements to our ports in the region.”

“More needs to be done to reform how we invest in our valuable water resources, including the Port of Oswego,” Hanna said. “The Great Lakes, the Erie Canal and other waterways are economic assets that support jobs, trade and economic competitiveness. Through a new, strengthened WRDA bill we can ensure that Central New York benefits from less red tape, a quicker project delivery process and a transportation network that truly promotes prosperity and growth. I will be working on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to achieve these important goals and I’m pleased to have Congressman Maffei as a partner in this effort.  I am hopeful that Congress will produce a strong, bipartisan product this fall.”

Maffei and Hanna are both cosponsors of the Great Lakes Navigation System Sustainability Act of 2013, H.R. 2273, a new provision that authorizes the Great Lakes Navigation System as a single, integrated system.

When prioritizing project funding, the Army Corps of Engineers currently considers the economic benefits of individual Great Lakes ports, rather than the system as a whole, which puts our region at a disadvantage compared to other areas of the country.

Maffei and Hanna are pushing for this new provision which would authorize the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River as a single system which would allow the corps to aggregate the system’s collective benefits when allocating resources for dredging and other needs.

This approach is used in similar authorizations for the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio rivers and is critically important for reinvesting in the rehabilitation and possible expansion of this regional infrastructure network in the Great Lakes region.

Maffei and Hanna met with Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen and the Port of Oswego’s Interim Director Jim Patka following the press conference.