SCHUMER PUSHES FOR FED FUNDS TO FULLY DREDGE ROCHESTER HARBOR, WHICH WAS LAST DREDGED ON ROUTINE SCHEDULE IN 2009; URGES FED APPROPRIATORS TO ALLOCATE $2.3 MILLION TO EFFORT – “KEEPING ROCHESTER HARBOR NAVIGABLE IS CRITICAL FOR SAFETY & THE LOCAL ECONOMY,” SCHUMER
Dredging Is Needed Every Two Years for Harbor to Keep Pace, But Has Not Been on Routine Schedule since 2009 – Fully Dredged Harbor is Key for Commerce & Recreation; Barges Have Run Aground Before Due To Lack of Dredging
Schumer Pushes to Secure Fed Funding As Part of FY2016 Budget – The Cost of Not Dredging the Rochester Harbor Could Mean a Loss of Commercial and Recreation Revenue & Could Put Local Jobs At Risk
Schumer: Fed Funds Are Needed To Keep Rochester Harbor Clear For Commerce & Recreation
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged federal appropriators to allocate $2.32 million in federal funding to dredge the Port of Rochester’s Harbor. This funding has been requested by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in its Fiscal Year 2016 Civil Works Budget and Schumer vowed to fight to make it an actuality. Schumer is urging the federal appropriators in charge of approving these funds to maintain this level of funding in upcoming budget negotiations. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, a full dredging is recommended every two years, and although the harbor was dredged in 2014 to address sediment specifically caused by Superstorm Sandy, the Port of Rochester has not been on a routine dredging schedule since 2009. Even though a routine dredge will enable the harbor to continue serving as a vital passageway for the City of Rochester, which greatly relies on a clear harbor to generate nearly $10 million annually in recreational benefits and support more than 140 local jobs. Schumer said keeping the port dredged is also critical for public safety, as the Rochester Harbor is a designated Critical Harbor of Refuge for Great Lakes vessels and the base of operations for the U.S. Coast Guard Station Rochester. Schumer urged the appropriators to uphold the Army Corps’ request and maintain the level of funding so dredging can get underway in 2016 to keep the Rochester Harbor navigable.
“The Rochester Harbor plays a key role in the local economy, and keeping this critical channel navigable and maintained will mean continued commercial and recreational activity and growth. That is why I am urging federal appropriators to allocate the funding the Army Corps needs to fully dredge the harbor on schedule for the first time since 2009,” said Schumer. “Keeping this harbor dredged will not only clear the way for commerce, it will also clear the way for increased job creation and economic development. Doing this will ensure that the Rochester area continues to reap the benefits of this harbor for years to come.”
Schumer explained that the Army Corps requested $2.32 million for the Rochester Harbor in their FY 2016 Civil Works Budget through the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill. The harbor was last dredged in 2014, when 200,000 cubic yards of material were removed from Sandy-impacted areas, and is in need of dredging to remain clear for commerce and recreation. Schumer explained that the Rochester Harbor is a major driver of revenue and tourism, particularly when it comes to recreation. Rochester Harbor is home to 1,034 recreational slips, 5 boat launch lanes, and 26 charter boats. The Port of Rochester generates approximately $9.9 million annually in recreational economic benefits.
According to the Army Corps, if the harbor is not dredged, there would be a reduction of the bulk commodities that pass through the harbor that generate an annual $1.2 million in direct commercial revenue and support 95 direct, indirect, and induced commercial harbor jobs that produce over $6.2 million per year in personal income for residents. Schumer explained that, in past years when the harbor was not dredged, companies that use the harbor often were forced to transport goods and products by truck, decreasing the revenue generated for the City and increasing the level of inconvenience for producers. For example, the Essroc Cement barge, the Stephen B. Roman, ran aground. This left Essroc to transport its cement products less efficiently and more costly by truck. According to an Army Corps estimate if the harbor was not dredged and closed to commercial traffic, the cost to transport commodities, like cement by truck would increase costs by $1,438,000 and the cost of reducing its loads would increase transportation costs between $130,000 and $288,000 annually.
Schumer also said keeping the harbor dredged is important for safety reasons. That is because Rochester Harbor is designated as a Critical Harbor of Refuge for Great Lakes vessels and the base of operations for the U.S. Coast Guard Station Rochester. Approximately 220,000 cubic yards of material must be dredged every two years from the harbor for it to keep pace. Superstorm Sandy supplemental funding supported the dredging of approximately 200,000 cubic yards of material from storm-impacted harbor areas in summer 2014, however, the harbor was last routinely dredged in 2009. Schumer said a full dredging is needed in 2016 to keep this vital passageway clear for economic development and safety purposes.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee appears below:
Dear Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Feinstein:
I write to request that you include $2.32 million for dredging Rochester Harbor in your FY 2016 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill. The Army Corps requested $2.32 million for the Rochester Harbor in their FY 2016 Civil Works Budget, and I urge you to maintain that level in the upcoming Energy and Water Development funding legislation.
It is vital that the Army Corps receives the money it needs to dredge Rochester Harbor. The Rochester Harbor generates recreational economic benefits totaling more than $9.9 million and supports 141 jobs. If the harbor is not dredged, there would be a reduction of bulk commodities that pass through the harbor which generate $1.2 million annually in direct revenue, while supporting 95 direct, indirect, and induced jobs that produce over $6.2 million per year in personal income. Keeping the harbor dredged is also important for safety reasons. Rochester Harbor is a Critical Harbor of Refuge for Great Lakes vessels and the base of operations for the U.S. Coast Guard Station Rochester.
Approximately 220,000 cubic yards of material must be dredged every two years. Superstorm Sandy supplemental funded dredging of approximately 200,000 cubic yards of material from storm-impacted harbor areas in summer 2014, but the harbor was last routinely dredged in 2009. In past years when the harbor was not dredged, the Essroc Cement barge, the Stephen B Roman, ran aground. Losses of between two and three feet of channel depth in the Harbor are estimated to result in increased transportation costs of between $130,000 and $288,000 annually.
Thank you for your consideration of this important request. The Rochester Harbor plays a key role in the regional economy; keeping this harbor navigable and maintained will ensure that Upstate New York and the greater Great Lakes region will continue to see the benefits associated with Rochester Harbor in the years to come.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
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