White House Seeks
by Associated Press
A project to deepen the Columbia River shipping channel took another step forward this week as the White House budget office asked Congress to shift $15 million from the Department of Energy to the Army Corps of Engineers.
The money would allow the Army Corps to begin work on the $150 million project, which would deepen the river channel to 43 feet from its current depth of 40 feet to make room for the next generation of international ships and boost capacity at the Port of Portland and other ports in Oregon and Washington.
President Bush pledged $15 million for the $150 million project during a campaign visit to Oregon last month.
In a letter from the budget office to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., the White House said that "deepening the channel would allow these ports to operate more efficiently and accommodate up-to-date deep-draft, economical ocean-going ships."
Chad Kolton, a spokesman for the budget office, said Wednesday that spending for the dredging project would be offset by reductions in two programs at the Department of Energy. The money still must be allocated by Congress.
Dredging is supposed to begin next year and be finished by 2007.
Going Against the Grain by Cami Joner, Vancouver Business Journal 9/11/4
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