WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Wittman (VA-01) testified before the House Appropriation’s subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies advocating for the funding necessary to widen and deepen the Port of Virginia.
The Port of Virginia is a national gateway for waterborne commerce, supporting businesses in all 48 contiguous states. Currently, the Port of Virginia is the fifth largest container port complex in the U.S and manages cargo ranging from containers, vehicles and non-containerized cargoes, and commodities ranging from forest products, minerals, and grains to auto parts and retail merchandise. Cargo moving through the port operations helps support 530,000 jobs across Virginia and generates $88.4 billion in annual economic impact in Virginia.
“As a representative of Virginia, home to the Port of Virginia – one of the largest and busiest ports on the eastern seaboard – adequately funding the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Program and directing at least one construction new start designation for navigation are essential to maintaining and advancing the work being done by the Port of Virginia to improve and expand its operations,” said Wittman.
Since 2014, vessels calling on the Port of Virginia have nearly doubled in size from 8,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEUs) to 14,400 TEUs. Based on this growth the Port is preparing for 16,000 and 18,000 TEU ultra-large container vessels in the near future. At its current depth and width, the Port is experiencing an urgent need to deepen and expand its channels.
“Widening to 1,400 ft. will make way for safe and efficient two-way passage between larger commercial vessels and other operators in the Harbor and Channels including the Navy,” Wittman said. “With a Benefit-Cost-Ratio of more than $5 returned for $1 invested in construction, the Norfolk Harbor deepening and widening presents a huge return on investment for the nation. It will allow American businesses from across the country to further benefit from the Port of Virginia as an integral part of their supply chain.”
To continue momentum exhibited by WRDA 2018 and the $2.5 million included in the President’s FY20 Budget for Pre-Construction Engineering and Design for the Thimble Shoals Channel widening and Deepening, Congressman Wittman has requested $2.6 billion in total funding for USACE Construction Account, $50 million in total funding for the USACE Operations and Maintenance Account, Donor & Energy Transfer Program, $1.59 billion in total funding for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and at least one construction start OR “New Start” designation for navigation.