WASHINGTON, DC: Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) led a bipartisan effort in Congress this past week to urge President Barack Obama to include proper funding for America’s ports and harbors in his annual budget proposal for the federal government.
“Frankly, our harbors and ports play a critical part in Northern Michigan’s economy. Unfortunately we’ve seen problems with the funding that’s supposed to be used for our harbors being siphoned off and being spent on other things. We need to fix that. I am hopeful we can continue to work in a bipartisan manner with the president to help address this problem,” said Dr. Benishek, a general surgeon and lifelong resident of Upper Michigan.
Dr. Benishek, along with twenty of his colleagues from around the nation, sent a letter to the president urging him to address the backlog in dredging and harbor maintenance by utilizing the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF). During his annual State of the Union address, President Obama called for “modern ports to move [our] goods.” Lawmakers throughout the country agree that this issue must be addressed and want to see funds collected for the federal Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be used to maintain and dredge America’s harbors and ports.
“Properly maintaining our harbors is more important than ever because our region is facing historically low water levels in the Great Lakes. I’ve been speaking with citizens all over Northern Michigan whose jobs depend on well maintained harbors and they want to see some solutions. That’s exactly what we are trying to do,” added Dr. Benishek.
Since being first elected in 2010, Dr. Benishek has been one of the leading voices in Congress fighting for proper funding of harbors in ports in Northern Michigan and throughout the country. Additionally, Dr. Benishek has been a strong supporter of legislation that will ensure that funds collected for harbor maintenance are used properly.
Michigan’s First Congressional District has over 1,600 miles of shoreline-the most in the continental United States and is the only district with shoreline on three of the five Great Lakes.