Shaheen Secures Approval of Portsmouth Navigation Project in Bill Being Sent to President Obama
**Widening Included in the Piscataqua River Turning Project will improve safety and navigability for commercial vessels and contribute to the regional economy**December 10, 2016
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) successfully secured Senate approval of a navigation improvement project that will benefit Portsmouth Harbor and the regional economy. The widening needed for the uppermost turning basin on the Piscataqua River was authorized as part of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which passed the Senate last night and will now be sent to President Obama’s desk. The legislation was passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday.
“Portsmouth Harbor is integral to New Hampshire’s economy and this project is a smart investment in the future of Granite State commerce,” said Senator Shaheen. “Widening the Piscataqua River Turning Basin will keep our port safe, secure and accessible. I am glad that Piscataqua River Turning Project was included in the larger WRDA bill and will now go to the President for his signature.”
“This is good news for the Portsmouth region and maritime traffic in the northeast,” said Geno Marconi, Director of New Hampshire Ports and Harbors. “The widening of the Piscataqua River Turning Basin contributes to the safety and security within the harbor to not only the ships and tugboats, but also the community and the environment. Widening the basin is essential to moving goods in and out of Portsmouth harbor. I am grateful to Senator Shaheen for her assistance in shepherding this project.”
The current 800-foot width of this turning basin is a safety concern for large cargo ships. Senator Shaheen’s provision included in WRDA will permit the basin to be widened by 400 feet, which will allow for broader use of area ports, improve navigational safety, and provide an economic boost for New Hampshire and the region.
WRDA also addresses issues of lead in drinking water and the country’s aging water infrastructure, providing grant programs to replace lead water lines in communities across the country and support infrastructure needs of disadvantaged communities. The legislation provides $170 million in direct assistance to Flint, Michigan to assist that city with its crisis with lead in drinking water. It will also provide assistance to other communities facing similar drinking water threats.
“Safe drinking water is essential to healthy communities, and the failing water infrastructure in this country is unacceptable,” said Senator Shaheen. “Parents should not have to worry about their children contracting lead poisoning by drinking from school water fountains. The investments made by this bill will help local governments across the country modernize their water lines and keep our communities healthy.”
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