Budget Proposal Includes $15M for Channel Deepeningby Staff
Portland Business Journal, February 7, 2005
President George W. Bush's budget proposal for fiscal 2006 includes $15 million for the Columbia River channel deepening project. That's $25 million less than local officials are hoping for.
The Columbia River Channel Coalition members are requesting $40 million for the project in fiscal 2006, which they say will enable the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to most efficiently deepen the navigation channel. By appropriating $40 million in fiscal 2006 and $40 million more in fiscal 2007, the construction costs would be minimized and transportation cost-savings would be fully delivered to Northwest farmers and businesses by the end of 2007, the coalition said. All four governors, all eight U.S. Senators, and U.S. House Members from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana support this request.
Ken O'Hollaren, executive director of the Port of Longview, Wash., and president of the Columbia River Channel Coalition, called the $15 million proposal "a good first step."
"We'll be working hard in a very tight budget environment for a larger appropriation," he added.
The project was authorized by Congress in 1999 and will cost $150.5 million to construct. Nonfederal sources must fund approximately 35 percent of total project costs, with the federal government paying the remaining 65 percent. The states of Oregon and Washington each appropriated $27.7 million to fully fund their share. Congress has appropriated a total of $19 million for the project: $4.5 million for fiscal 2001, $2 million for 2003, $3.5 million for 2004, and $9 million for fiscal 2005.
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