The Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition reached out to its members to support an appropriations amendment, and coalition officials said their effort paid off in a big way. The amendment, co-sponsored by Michigan Second District Congressman Bill Huizenga, takes $57.6 million from the Department of Energy’s nuclear energy acquisition, construction and expansion account and adds it to the Army Corps of Engineers civil works operations and maintenance account.
The amendment passed by a margin of 281-137, gaining wide bi-partisan support, including support from Michigan Congressman Dan Benishek of the First District in Northern Michigan, and support from Rep. Dave Camp. Benishek also spoke on the House floor in favor of the amendment.
“In a constantly divided Washington, this is a precedent setting win for one of our agenda items that shows our Northern Michigan elected officials support funding the backlog of dredging and harbor maintenance projects that affect our ability to move people, goods and services,” said Kent Wood, director of government relations for the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance.
Great Lakes Metro Chamber officials called the vote “a tremendous result” with long-term implications for the region. Through years of educating Congress about the importance of maintaining ports and harbors in the Great Lakes, the Coalition has created a solid base of lawmakers it expects will continue to support sufficient waterways maintenance funding for the region. With the increase in the House FY ’15 Energy & Water Appropriations bill, total federal funding for harbor maintenance will exceed $1.1 billion.
Learn more about the efforts of the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance by clicking here.