U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., the ranking member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, along with industry and Louisiana transportation officials, have released a new economic impact report detailing the benefits of deepening the Mississippi River to 50 feet from its current 45-foot draft.
The study by economist Tim Ryan, “The Economic Impact of Deepening the Mississippi River to 50 Feet,” was commissioned by the Big River Coalition and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. Ryan determined that a deeper channel allowing for larger ships would create $11.49 billion in increased U.S. production.
“It’s extremely important that our nation’s ports and waterways can meet current and future transportation needs,” Vitter said in a written statement. “The water resources bill that we passed through the Senate earlier this year will give us the opportunity to increase funding to dredge and improve our waterways and infrastructure – a huge benefit for Louisiana. But more needs to be done, and this report will be a big step forward.”
“If the Mississippi River is not deepened to match the controlling draft of the new Panama Canal locks, U.S. exporters become less competitive in the world market and consumers pay more for goods and services,” added Sean Duffy, executive director of the Big River Coalition. “The time to bring the Mississippi River channel and its infrastructure into the future is now.”