The US House has passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Actconference report. The bill recognizes the Great Lakes Navigation System as a unified body, putting the Great Lakes on equal footing with other water systems across the United States. The intent is to help prioritize future infrastructure projects.
West Michigan Congressman Bill Huizenga tells WOOD Radio the new classification will improve harbor dredging across the Great Lakes, help shorten the dredging backlog for Michigan harbors, and further increase economic activity on the Great Lakes that supports approximately 130,000 jobs.
"It benefits the entire Michigan economy by ensuring we have safe, solid harbors that are going to be able to service products coming in and out of Michigan."
Huizenga says under the funding reauthorization, the amount of spending being used for harbor maintenance will jump to 67% in the next fiscal year and will increase 3% annually until 2025 when 100% of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund will truly be used for harbor maintenance.