Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley announced $17 million in federal funding for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects in Ventura County at Channel Islands Harbor, Ventura Harbor, and the Port of Hueneme.
“Since coming to Congress, I have fought alongside our local leaders for additional funds for Ventura County’s port and harbors, and I am proud to say that our efforts have paid off once again,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “The Port of Hueneme, Channel Islands Harbor, and Ventura Harbor are critical drivers of our local economy and play an important role in fueling job growth in the region. This funding will help keep them open for business, which is good for our residents and businesses alike.”
As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Brownley has long advocated for full utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which currently has a surplus of $9.9 billion that has been collected for harbor maintenance needs, but is not being utilized for its intended purpose. For FY2020, President Trump proposed significant cuts to harbor maintenance infrastructure investments, which would have been devastating to ports and harbors nation-wide, some of which may have been forced to close due to inadequate maintenance dredging. However, Brownley and other members worked to ensure the federal investment levels were sufficient for harbor maintenance needs and to ensure funding was appropriated for the purposes for which it was collected. The final FY2020 spending deal provided $3.8 billion for Army Corps’ Operations and Maintenance programs. Pursuant to federal law, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was required to issue a work plan detailing to Congress how these funds would be allocated.
The U.S. Army Corps’ FY2020 Work Plan – issued on Monday -- includes funds for dredging at Channel Islands Harbor and Ventura Harbor, as well as additional funds necessary to move forward on the Port of Hueneme deepening project. Finally, the work plan allocates “donor port” funds for the Port of Hueneme, pursuant to a law Congresswoman Brownley got enacted into law in 2016.
Channel Islands Harbor
The FY2020 Army Corps’ Work Plan provides a total of $12 million for dredging of Channel Islands Harbor, which also provides sand for Hueneme Beach. This amount is $6.75 million above what would have been allocated under the President’s proposal.
“The County of Ventura and its Harbor Department are thrilled with the inclusion of an additional $6,750,000 in the FY2020 Army Corps Work Plan for the dredging project in Ventura County, and greatly appreciates the effort of Congresswoman Brownley to help make this happen,” said Mark Sandoval, Channel Islands Harbor Director. “The bi-annual Federal dredging project is imperative to provide shoreline protection and enhance recreational beaches in Port Hueneme, Ventura County and the military installations south of the Channel Islands Harbor. In the past, we have struggled to obtain the funding needed to dredge the targeted 2.5 million cubic yards. These additional funds get us much closer, and can be attributed in large part to the on-going effort of Congresswoman Brownley.”
The FY2020 Army Corps’ work plan also includes $1,625,000 for Ventura Harbor to support this year’s annual dredge. President Trump’s original proposal would have provided no funds for Ventura Harbor, which -- like the 2016 harbor closure -- would have been devastating to businesses who rely on the harbor.
“On behalf of the Ventura Port District’s Commissioners and dredging team we would like to acknowledge and thank Congresswoman Brownley for her tireless support of Ventura Harbor,” said Brian Pendleton, General Manager of the Ventura Harbor. “Congresswoman Brownley’s support helped us to achieve a major milestone this week, inclusion of dredging the Federal Navigation Channel into Ventura Harbor in the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2021. This support demonstrates her on-going commitment to our working waterfront including the commercial fishing industry so central to the District’s mission.”
Port of Hueneme
The Army Corps’ work plan also provided $3,290,000 for the Port of Hueneme for a harbor deepening project, plus an additional $140,000, which was awarded pursuant to donor port legislation that Brownley spearheaded the enactment of in 2016. Donor ports, so named because they contribute far more to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund than they receive back, receive an additional allocation of funds. Brownley’s legislation, enacted as part of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (P.L. 114-322), ensured the Port of Hueneme, along with the Port of San Diego and Port Everglades, received equitable treatment as donor ports.
“We have strong advocates in our corner with Congresswoman Brownley and Congressman Carbajal. Their advocacy for our Port’s infrastructure needs resulted in a $3.29 million increase for the Port of Hueneme in the U.S. Army Corp of Engineer FY20 Workplan,” said CEO and Port Director Kristin Decas. “The Port also learned it will receive $140,000 from the Harbor Maintenance Tax Fund this year as a Donor Port, another designation Congresswoman Brownley championed for the Port starting in 2013. These funds result in commercial growth , job creation, and renourishment for our local beaches.”