Merkley Announces Key Support for Small Ports in Spending Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley announced that the omnibus spending bill expected to pass the Senate and the U.S. House this week includes a provision that will help strengthen Oregon’s small ports and make sure that small ports in America receive their fair share of funding. The omnibus spending bill includes $48 million for small ports, a 13 percent increase over the 2015 level.

“Dredging and maintenance at our small ports is critical to safety and economic prosperity in Oregon’s coastal communities,” said Merkley. “Today’s announcement is a big win and will help create jobs and keep our small ports and local infrastructure up and running.”

For small coastal communities in Oregon, access to funding for dredging is crucial to the economy. These funds will provide for maintenance dredging at Oregon’s small ports, ensuring that entrance channels and waterways are safe and accessible for recreational boats, commercial fleets, and the Coast Guard.

As the first member of Oregon’s congressional delegation to sit on an Appropriations Committee since Senator Mark Hatfield, Senator Merkley has consistently fought for small ports. He secured $42.5 million in dedicated funding last year, and fought again to include critical funding in this year’s Senate Appropriations Committee Energy and Water Appropriations bill after it was slashed from the President’s budget. The bill also contains $250 million in funding for deep draft ports, a significant increase over last year’s funding.