Bill would give Baltimore port $36 million for improvements

June 20, 1998|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

Nearly $36 million has been set aside for the port of Baltimore in the U.S. Senate version of the federal Energy and Water Appropriations bill.

The House of Representatives will consider the bill next week. If it is passed, it would then go to President Clinton for final approval, said Kara Peterman, a spokeswoman for Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.

"This funding is essential for the economic health and prosperity of the port of Baltimore, the state of Maryland and our maritime industry," Sarbanes said in a joint statement with Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.

"The improvements for the port will provide jobs and help keep Maryland's waterways shipshape and open for business," Mikulski said.

VTC The Senate version of the Energy and Water bill, which was passed Thursday, approved $15.5 million for operation and maintenance dredging for the Baltimore harbor and its approach channels. Another $13 million has been set aside for maintenance dredging of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and its approach channels.

There are more than 126 miles of shipping channels into the port of Baltimore. The channels have to be dredged regularly to maintain a 50-foot channel for ship traffic.

The funding also includes $7 million for Poplar Island. The eroding Talbot County island in the Chesapeake Bay will be replenished with silt dredged from the port's shipping channels, creating a wetland habitat.

In other news, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given final approval to a more than $27 million package for widening, deepening and dredging improvements to waterways within the Baltimore harbor area, said Mikulski and Sarbanes.

Pub Date: 6/20/98

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