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American Shipper

Omnibus bill includes funds to advance navigation projects

   The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday easily passed a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that formalizes last month’s bipartisan budget agreement to keep the government running for the remainder of the fiscal year.
   H.R. 3547, which must still be approved by the Senate, provides modest help for federal port and inland waterway improvements, including $125 million for the Army Corps of Engineers to continue feasibility studies for dredging projects. It also gives the Army Corps the freedom to initiate nine new reconnaissance studies of navigation projects, including three for deep-draft ports, as well as three new construction projects for navigation improvements.
   One of the ports benefiting from the bill is Charleston, S.C., which will be able to continue its feasibility study for deepening the harbor to 50 feet.
   The bill also provides construction funds that could enable the deepening project to move ahead without delay once the Chief of Engineer’s report is completed, which is now expected in September 2015.

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