Shaheen Secures Senate Approval of Portsmouth Navigation Project

**Widening project on the Piscataqua River Turning Project will improve safety and navigability for commercial vessels and contribute to the regional economy**

September 15, 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 today by a vote of 95-3. 

“This project is a smart investment in the future of commerce in the Seacoast region,” said Senator Shaheen. “Portsmouth Harbor is integral to New Hampshire’s economy, and widening the Piscataqua River Turning Basin will keep our port safe, secure and accessible.”

“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,” said Geno Marconi, Director of New Hampshire Ports and Harbors.  “The widening will continue to allow New Hampshire to be competitive in the international shipping market.”

The current 800-foot width of this turning basin is a safety concern for large cargo ships. Senator Shaheen’s provision approved today 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 will also address 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 $220 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 fundamental 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 drinking from school water fountains for fear of lead contamination. The investments made by this bill will help local governments across the country modernize their water lines and keep our communities thriving and healthy.”