Casey Seeks More Money for River Projects
Washington PA Observer Reporter
15 February 2013
By Scott Beveridge, Staff Writer
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey announced Friday his plan to introduce federal
legislation that would authorize millions of additional dollars in
investment in the underbudgeted Monongahela River navigation
improvement project, including work in Charleroi.
The Democratic lawmaker from Pennsylvania is seeking up to $37
million more a year in the proposed Reinvesting in Vital Economic
Rivers and Waterways Act of 2013 to ensure the locks and dams
projects stay on schedule for completion.
“Our region’s locks and dams play a vital role in the moving of
commerce, creating and sustaining jobs, and supporting economic
growth throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania,” Casey stated in a
news release. “It’s critical that we maintain and upgrade these
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is years behind schedule due to
federal funding cuts on replacing locks in Charleroi and
performing related river dredging work in order to remove an aging
dam in Elizabeth and shorten the amount of time tow boats spend
locking through river channels.
Casey’s act, which will be introduced following this recess, would
protect more 200,000 jobs in industries that depend on the river
to move products, his office said.
The Mon project was authorized by Congress in 1992 after it was
determined that portions of the locks and dams, including another
in Braddock, were crumbling and dangerous. Yet, the work was
underfunded in nearly every federal infrastructure bill since that
President Obama’s Recovery Act authorized another $67 million for
the work, including construction in 2010 of a new lock chamber in
Charleroi, when the project was already 5 years behind schedule
for completion. Workers in December demolished one lock wall in
order to create a new locking chamber.
Casey’s bill also would place as much as $740 million into the
waterways trust fund over two decades, using money collected from
the gasoline tax.
“This legislation is about increasing investments in our waterways
and reforming the current process to reduce waste and limit cost
overruns. This bill will make our waterways more effective and
efficient,” Casey stated in a news release.