December 22, 2020

Chair Peter DeFazio Resolves Decades-Long Fight and Frees Up Billions of Dollars for Harbor Maintenance

WASHINGTON—Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) released the following statement after passage of his bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2020, which includes his provision to ensure that Harbor Maintenance funds are actually used for harbor maintenance. This measure now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“This is a tremendous victory for Oregon’s coastal communities. For decades, I have fought to unlock the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and ensure that funds already collected for harbor maintenance are fully utilized to keep our local ports dredged and jetties maintained. Finally, WRDA 2020 fulfils that goal.

“With this fix, our ports and harbors will have the resources they so desperately need, all without raising taxes or adding a penny to the deficit. My bipartisan bill, approved by both the House and the Senate, will create and sustain jobs on the coast, make conditions safer for Oregon’s commercial fishing and recreation industries, and boost our state and national economic competitiveness.

“By unlocking the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, my legislation will ultimately provide up to $3 billion annually for port maintenance around the country and right here in Oregon. I also successfully pushed for a 50 percent increase in funding for small harbors, like the Port of Gold Beach and the Port of Siuslaw, and for a provision that allows harbor maintenance funds to be seamlessly spent on the maintenance of adjacent marinas. This funding will be put to immediate use paying for planned projects such as the Coos Bay North Jetty rehabilitation and maintenance dredging along the coast.”