The United States House of Representatives recently passed a water infrastructure bill with critical navigation improvement projects that will increase economic capacity on the commercial waterway.
Due to a Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler-authored provision in the House-passed Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA), the Columbia River is closed to getting a vital turning basin navigation improvement project.
Herrera Beutler’s provision in the House WRDA bill sets in motion the establishment of a turning basin on the Columbia River near the city of Kalama. The addition of the turning basin near the Lower Martin Bar and improvement of the two existing turning basins will increase cargo volume capacity and hopefully spur economic development in the region.
“The Columbia River is our region’s most important waterway for shipping goods, and it supports countless jobs in industries throughout the West. I was pleased to champion the construction of the Kalama turning basin in this legislation so that our ports, shippers, and tugboat operators can more efficiently support this region’s economy,” Herrera Beutler said in a news release.
The Columbia River is one of the nation’s most vital trade gateways, shipping over $21 billion in cargo annually. It supports tens of thousands of jobs and ensures access for U.S. farmers to the global marketplace. The Lower Martin area alone supports over 40 percent of the river’s export volume, and provides an excellent navigation and anchorage area for large, deeply laden vessels. Establishing a new turning basin there will increase cargo efficiency, opportunities and jobs in the Northwest.
"We thank Congresswoman Herrera Beutler for her efforts to ensure infrastructure is in place to support commerce on the river, and by extension, our region’s economy," Executive Director of the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association Kristin Meira said.
— The Reflector