abc
QUICK LINKS:

U.S. House Approves $12 Billion Water Bill, Includes Lake Superior Dredging Revisions

Updated: 05/21/2014 11:01 PM
Created: 05/21/2014 10:50 PM WDIO.com

The House has passed a $12 billion-plus infrastructure bill authorizing 34 water projects across the country, including in the Duluth-Superior Port.

The bill passed on a 412-4 vote Tuesday after months of negotiations between key House members and senators in both parties. The Senate could vote on it before the end of the week. That would send it to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Sponsors, including Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said the measure will make Northland businesses more competitive in moving their products to market faster. Part of the bill calls for more dredging money for Lake Superior, allowing cargo ships to carry heavier loads. 

"Duluth is the largest freshwater port in the world," Franken said Wednesday. "This is incredibly important to the whole state of Minnesota, to our economy, and of course to northeastern Minnesota. This is going to be very good for our mining industry, and for our [agriculture] exporters and for other people that ship in and out of the harbor."

A portion of the bill, championed by Minnesota lawmakers, ensures that 100 percent of all harbor maintenance fees - a tax paid by the shipping industry to use the port - go towards maintaining the harbor. That money had been diverted to other projects for several years.

The projects also include flood diversion projects in North Dakota, Minnesota and California; dredging and widening an 80-mile waterway in Texas and Louisiana that serves the oil industry and deepening the growing Port of Savanah.

The legislation also puts an end to some $18 billion in dormant water projects authorized before 2007.

(Copyright 2014 WDIO-TV, LLC . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Front Page

  • Proposal May Change Coverage For Hearing Device Used By Cloquet Baby

    A hearing system clipped to a pink headband is the only way a 10-month-old baby in Cloquet can hear. The device is currently covered by insurance, but Medicare is proposing to change its classification and coverage. The Dowell family is worried other insurance companies will follow.

  • Sheriff: Man Attacked Homeowner before Fatal Shooting

    Koochiching County Sheriff Brian Jespersen says a man who shot and killed an intruder was defending himself and his mother, who had been attacked.

  • Update: Missing Hurley Man Found in Submerged Vehicle

    Police say the body of a Hurley man missing for nearly a month has been found inside his submerged vehicle. Duane R. Jussila, 74, was reported missing on July 5.  He had last been seen in Ironwood.

  • Former IRRRB Commissioner Gustafson Dies

    Jim Gustafson, who represented Duluth in the state Senate and headed the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board for seven years, died July 23 at the age of 75. During his tenure, Gustafson helped complete Giant's Ridge Golf Course, negotiated the Northwest Airlines ticket reservation center, and cut Ironworld's subsidy by $1 million.

  • Folks Getting Ready For Christmas in July

    It may be summer, but folks in Grand Rapids are getting ready for Christmas in July. Operation Christmas Child delivers shoe boxes full of goodies to kids around the world during the holidays. On Tuesday, people will get together at Grand Rapids Alliance Church to stuff shoe boxes and learn more about the project.

 
Advertisement