Posted on January 19, 2016
Recently, the Seaport District garnered lots of attention following General Electric’s (GE) announcement to move its headquarters to Massachusetts. Over the years, the transformation of this area led to a revitalization of the harbor and the city. After the Omnibus Agreement became a law last month, there are more improvements ahead for the Port of Boston. The agreement funded the 2014 Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) to improve the nation’s ports through deep draft navigation projects. This bill authorized $310 million of Federal funding to support the $400 million Boston Harbor Dredging Project. While many are celebrating this news around the state, the funds are not yet secured. Even though funding for Boston’s much-needed dredging project received approval, the bill does not appropriate these critical funds.
Deepening the Boston Harbor has several benefits for the region. Most importantly, it will keep Boston relevant as a harbor because new mega ships are already calling on U.S. ports. Last year, Eastern ports like the Charleston, Savannah, Virginia and Houston saw an increase in traffic mainly due in part to the labor strikes on the west coast. As a result, these ports are positioned to handle new traffic from the expansion of the Panama and Suez Canals, and they also have port improvement projects coming online as well. Additionally, deepening the Port of Boston’s main navigation channels would improve services for New England-bound shipments that usually land at the Port of NY-NJ because Conley Terminal would double its capacity to manage containers.
An investment to ensure a working port will also help retain Boston’s maritime heritage by preserving 50,000 waterfront jobs and lay the groundwork for future growth. This expansion will provide a significant boost to Boston’s maritime industrial economy and Massachusetts’ importers and exporters, creating thousands of new jobs. The Massachusetts Port Authority estimates harbor activities will generate close to $3 billion in economic activity for New England this year and the return on the investment for this project could lead to an additional $3 billion benefit for the region.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will supervise the three-year improvement project, with the state contributing $60 million in funding and the Massachusetts Port Authority will cover the remaining costs. With all this support in place and the overwhelming benefits of dredging the Port of Boston, it is imperative to secure Federal funding. OCEANAIR asks you to consider supporting expansion by using the links below to contact our members of Congress to advocate for full federal funding of this dredging project.
Please edit the draft letter template below and send to the offices of Senator Warren, Senator Markey, Congressman Capuano, and Congressman Lynch with your signature. Also, please email a copy of your letter to all four offices. You may consider calling as well, but please do not let New England miss this wonderful opportunity.