Boosting Economic Competitiveness and Creating Jobs
Nearly 80% of traded goods that Americans rely on are moved through our nation’s ports, harbors, and inland waterways. That makes investing in this infrastructure critical to strengthening America’s competitiveness. The last WRDA unlocked billions from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) for harbor maintenance needs—the most since its inception in 1986!
WRDA also makes new investments in critical projects possible such as deepening the New York and New Jersey Harbor to improve navigation. The Port of New York and New Jersey is a crucial driver for jobs in the region and offers workers a high standard of living . A study by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority reported that the Port of New York and New Jersey directly supports 229,000 workers and indirectly supports 171,000 jobs associated with the port (Cushman & Wakefield Research, 2018). The port is responsible for $25.7 billion in personal income and $64.8 billion in business income in the region. This is just one example of how WRDA boosts the competitive edge of American business.
(Above: T&I Chair Peter DeFazio visits the Coos Bay North Jetty in Oregon for a briefing on repairs. The jetty will receive more than $32 million to improve safety at the Port of Coos Bay thanks to funds available due to the unlocking of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law)
By protecting local ecosystems, we also protect local economies. Provisions in WRDA help detect, treat, and prevent harmful algal blooms as well as provide guidance for managing invasive species. This in turn helps protect tourism, recreation, fishing, and other staples of coastal economies. WRDA 2020 ensured that projects to prevent the spread of invasive species, like one designed to prevent the spread of invasive carp in the Great Lakes Basin beginning at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Chicago, had the tools and funding necessary to be carried out.