WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., wants more funding from the Corps of Engineers for dredging projects in Carteret and Dare counties.
Jones has asked the Corps for additional funding for maintenance dredging of Morehead City Harbor; the Beaufort Harbor complex that includes Bulkhead Channel, Taylor’s Creek and Morgan Creek; the channel from Back Sound to Lookout Bight, and Bogue Inlet, according to an announcement Tuesday.
Jones explained in a letter to Corps leadership that the $5.57 million provided for the Morehead City Harbor project in the Corps’ fiscal year 2018 budget is helpful but not sufficient to maintain the channel at its authorized depth. He also noted that no funding was included in the administration’s budget for the other three projects.
“Maintaining Morehead City Harbor and surrounding waterways is vital to the economic success of Carteret County and Eastern North Carolina,” said Jones in a statement. “The port supports over 3,700 jobs, and the businesses that rely on it must have reliable access through the harbor. Similarly, boaters, fishermen and related businesses also depend on open access through the county’s other inlets and channels.”
Jones has also asked for more funding than the $4.79 million for Oregon Inlet and $1 million for Hatteras Inlet allocated in the Corps’ 2018 budget request.
“Maintaining Oregon and Hatteras Inlets is essential to the economic and transportation needs of not only Dare and Hyde counties, but much of Eastern North Carolina,” said Jones in a statement. “These waterways serve our fishermen, Coast Guard, recreational boaters, and much more.”
While Congress no longer has the ability to legislatively increase funding for specific projects because of an earmark ban imposed in 2011, lawmakers did attempt to address some of the waterway maintenance issues across the nation in recently passed legislation. They did so by creating several unallocated pots of money for different project categories, including Deep Draft Harbors and Channels, Navigation Maintenance and Small, Remote, or Subsistence Navigation. Congress also gave the Corps a list of criteria to use in determining which projects to fund from these pots.
In his letters, Jones made the case that these projects in Carteret and Dare counties are exactly the types of projects Congress had in mind when it provided the Corps with these additional pots of money.
Jones’ office touted his history of support for maintaining navigation in North Carolina’s inlets, channels and harbors.
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