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Senate subcommittee votes funds for deepening Columbia River

Senate subcommittee votes funds for deepening Columbia River

   The Senate appropriations energy and water subcommittee Tuesday approved $15 million for fiscal 2006 to deepen by three feet the navigation channel in the Columbia River. The extra draft is needed to allow larger containerships to serve Portland and other ports on the river.

   The subcommittee’s counterpart in the House last month approved the same amount for the dredge project, which would deepen the river in phases to 43 feet. The funding proposal still must go through both appropriations committees and a conference committee of both chambers.

   The $15 million is more than Congress has ever approved for the project so far, but less than the $40 million requested by local businesses and governments for fiscal 2006.

   Congress appropriated $19 million for the federal share of the project during the past four years, including $9 million in fiscal 2005. The dredging project is estimated to cost $150 million.

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