The Mariners’ Advisory Committee for the Bay and River Delaware, the Pilots Association for the Bay and River Delaware, and the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay applaud the inclusion of a $4.6 million request for aids to navigation, or ATONs, in President Obama’s FY17 U.S. Coast Guard budget justification.
"Thanks to efforts last year by Sens. Cory Booker, Robert Casey, Christopher Coons, and Robert Menendez, the president's FY17 budget includes a proposal for an additional $4.6 million for U.S. Coast Guard to improve safety and navigation aids on the Delaware River," said Jonathan Kemmerley, chairman of the Mariners’ Advisory Committee.
"I was encouraged to see the president's budget request include $4.6 million to be used for improving navigation on the Delaware River. I will work with my colleagues to support this request throughout the appropriations and budget process so that Coast Guard have additional resources to accomplish their mission," said Sen. Coons.
The funding would address aging and damaged ATONs on the Delaware River and establish, maintain, and improve transportation safety on federal waterways through survey, design, construction, and improvements to buoys and structures assisting navigation.
"I am pleased that the USCG has included funding in its budget for this critical infrastructure project in Philadelphia," Sen. Casey said. "The Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay is a valuable partner in safeguarding our economic security, and this funding will provide the resources Coast Guard needs to ensure the safe and secure movement of commerce once the 45-foot Main Channel Deepening Project is completed."
The deepening project will require the relocation of various Delaware River range lights, also included in the funding request. Phase I of the relocation aligns the main ship channel with channel boundaries and modernizes range light optics promoting safer navigation.
"Adequate funding for the Coast Guard's Aids to Navigation system is critical to ensuring that our nation's waterways are safely navigated," said Sen. Booker. "It's encouraging that the president's budget specifically addresses the need to update markers to reflect the channel deepening in the Delaware River."
Sen. Menendez said, "Anything that aids in the safe and efficient navigation along the Delaware River is a positive step forward, and I was pleased to see the president's budget include funds to assist the Coast Guard towards that end. I look forward to supporting this important budget request as we navigate the appropriations process."