PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Sen. Bob Casey sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner on Friday asking for quick action on a bill to repair locks and dams in this region.
Sen. Casey, whose bill has passed the Senate, says 200,000 jobs depend on working locks and dams in this region.
It may all come together at Pittsburgh’s majestic Point, but the three rivers of southwest Pennsylvania are marked by 17 locks and dams — essential not only for flood control, but also for billions of dollars of commerce — but the poor condition of this infrastructure threatens everyone.
“In the Senate, we were able to pass major portions of the so-called River Act, which will allow us to really move forward on investing in the locks and dams’ infrastructure, which is a huge part of the economy of southwestern Pennsylvania and throughout the nation, especially from here to the Midwest,” said Sen. Casey.
A bipartisan coalition of senators approved Sen. Casey’s bill to pump more money into repairing locks and dams, largely through a user fee on those who commercially use the river.
“The lack of investment in infrastructure is so bad nationally, and so bad here in southwestern Pennsylvania with the Army Corps needing more dollars to invest that these 300 users are asking for a fee increase on themselves,” Sen. Casey said.
But the measure now awaits action in the House of Representatives where support from local Republican Reps. Tim Murphy, Mike Kelly and Keith Rothfus is key.
“It’s very important, and they can speak to the impact that locks and dams have on this region,” Sen. Casey said. “So we are urging all the members of Congress from southwestern Pennsylvania to work with Chairman Shuster, the Speaker and others to get this done.”
Sen. Casey says he hopes the bipartisan support in the Senate continues in the House, and he’s urging Speaker Boehner and Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster to move quickly.
“It’s one of those rare things in Washington, which is overwhelmingly bipartisan,” he said.