News Releases

Senator Murray Delivers $26.6 Million in Economic Recovery Funding to Complete 20-Year Columbia Channel Deepening Project

May 13 2009

Project that began in 2005, after 16 years of planning, will get critical infusion of funding to complete work after Murray highlights its impact on jobs and the economy in the Northwest

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that the Columbia River Channel Deepening project will receive $26.6 million to complete work to deepen the Columbia River navigation channel under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The funding, which will go to the Army Corps of Engineers, was not included in the Administration’s original list of ARRA projects that would receive funding, which was released on April 28th. However, following that announcement, Murray spoke with Obama Administration officials about the critical economic impact completion of the project will have, including more than 40,000 jobs in the region that depend on maritime commerce and the huge overall economic impact the vital economic thoroughfare has in the Northwest.

“This is a big victory for our state and the entire Northwest,” said Senator Murray. “After years and years of work, we are now on the verge of ensuring the Columbia River remains the economic engine of the Northwest.  A deeper channel will enable us to accommodate the modern fleet of larger ships which will help save jobs and keep our state’s goods moving. Funding the completion of this efforts is exactly the kind of project the Economic Recovery Act was designed to support.”

The funding announced today is expected to be enough to complete the project. The majority of the funding will got to blasting to remove basalt rock near St. Helens, OR, at river mile 88.

Many of today’s trade vessels are larger ships that are constrained by the current authorized depth of 40-feet in the Columbia River navigation channel. In order to better accommodate those vessels, the navigation channel needs to be deepened from 40 to 43-feet. This will enable ships to access and serve the regions ports, businesses, farmers, and other critical markets.