More federal dollars being available to make upgrades to ports and waterways in upstate New York is closer to reality as the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, or WRRDA, passed the House of Representatives last night.
The bill frees up $8.2 billion in funds for water infrastructure upgrades. It also defunds never-implemented projects worth $12 billion and streamlines applications and approvals of funding.
The Port of Oswego on Lake Ontario has expressed desire for federal funds to dredge the port. Federal dollars recently have gone to land upgrades there, namely improvements to rail lines.
Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld), who represents part of Oswego County, says the Great Lakes are a good place to improve harbors.
"It is one big waterway and it’s interdependent. So this WRRDA bill will make it easier for the Port of Oswego to apply for, and be successful in getting, money for things like dredging," he said.
Hanna is on the House subcommittee that wrote the legislation and pushed for the bill's passage.
"It makes our country just more competitive," he said.
Hanna says there is plenty of common ground between the House and Senate versions of the bill for it to make it to the president’s desk.