Murray Secures $5 million in Senate for Columbia River Channel Deepening

Jul 16 2003

With $2 million in the House bill and Zero in the President’s budget, Murray’s $5 million brightens funding picture significantly

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) secured $5 million in the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2004 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill for the Columbia River Channel Improvement Project.

The federal funds will be used for channel deepening construction and ecosystem restoration. The bill passed the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee today.

The Columbia River deep draft channel is the livelihood of the Columbia/Snake River System, which serves shippers from more than 40 states and is a critical economic engine for the Pacific Northwest. The project will make the river channel three feet deeper, allowing new generations of ships to serve the region and improving commerce opportunities between Washington State and the Pacific Rim.

As a member of the Energy and Water Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray secured the $5 million despite a tight budget environment and a smaller budget overall for Army Corps of Engineer programs.

“Improving the Columbia River will boost economic development in our region, and I’m proud to provide $5 million in the Senate bill,” said Senator Murray. “Because the President has not requested any money for this project and the House provided $2 million, this Senate funding is a shot in the arm. Improving this economic engine is a high priority for me, and I’m going to continue to push for adequate funding.”

The bill will go to the full Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow (July 17). Last year (FY 2003), Murray secured $5 million in the Senate bill, the House secured zero dollars, and after a conference, the project ultimately received $2 million.