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Friday, July 31, 2020

Bi-Partisan Water Resource Development Act May be Win for Great Lakes Manufacturing and U.P. Communities

Our nation has been thinking of ways to develop and grow after the shut downs. We have spent a lot of time and money promoting policies that ultimately led to companies investing overseas. Our roads, waterways, and infrastructure need improvement. However, throwing money at something without thinking strategically at it is a waste of our financial resources. The Water Resource Development Act is well thought out legislation that could lead to a stronger export oriented infrastructure in a way that significantly impacts Great Lakes Manufacturing in general and the U.P. Communities in particular. 

Yoopers live and breath on the Great Lakes. Our very centralized fresh water peninsula is ideally suited to help regional manufacturers from places like Chicago, Milwaukee, Canada and Detroit maximize their export orientation. To do this means we need functioning waterways that allow vessels to carry resources and products out to the global world. They do this through clear and easy to navigate Great Lakes shipping. 

Despite our geographic advantages places like Delta County Michigan have not maximized their deep sea ports, spider webbed rail, centralized roads, and ideal location between multiple new military/civilian investments to grow economically. The county has an opportunity to encourage growth through developing a stronger plan on reaching out to government and business stakeholders to attract distribution interest. 

What would maximize growth in a state that has billions in budget shortfalls would be to increase revenue. That would mean Federal, State, Local and Industry leaders could conduct the proper analysis to determine if they can coordinate on building a stronger regional economy through bringing back manufacturing in the region. Our old infrastructure and knowledge is present but without capitalizing on it we are likely to let it slip through our fingers one more time. 

In this case, coordination at different levels and targeted investments could lead to maximum ROI in a way that helps further fill empty state coffers through increased long term regional and national tax revenue. 

The following was taken from an email press release....

Bergman Proposals Included in Water Resources Package, 
 Wins for First District Priorities

Washington - Yesterday, the House passed the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out water infrastructure activities for our Nation. Rep Jack Bergman issued the following statement:

"This legislation focuses on key concerns affecting the navigability as well as the preservation of our Great Lakes. From addressing the maintenance backlogs along our Great Lakes waterways to taking the next steps to stop Asian carp, this year’s WRDA bill is good news for the First District of Michigan and our entire Nation," said Rep. Bergman.

The WRDA bill included key legislation and priorities advocated for by Rep. Jack Bergman, including:

- Securing an increased amount of Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund resources for the Great Lakes Navigation System, a waterway spanning the Great Lakes consisting hundreds of channels, breakwaters, jetties, harbors as well as the Macarthur and Poe locks;
- Authorizing the Brandon Road Lock and Dam project to stop the advancement of Asian Carp;
- Approval of the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study; and
- Expanding the study of ways to mitigate shoreline erosion and high water. 

In May, Rep. Bergman wrote a letter to Chairman DeFazio and Ranking Member Graves requesting "the inclusion of legislation to modify the existing Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) funding allocation for the Great Lakes Navigation System (GLNS)."

Rep. Bergman additionally noted, "The GLNS has unfunded backlogs of $320 million for maintenance of navigation structures (such as jetties and breakwaters) and $150 million for maintenance dredging. This requested legislative change is needed to ensure that these GLNS backlogs are reduced, not increased, as future HMTF resources are allocated."

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