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Bipartisan Legislation Would Prioritize Recreational Infrastructure

Wednesday, February 26, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Adam Fortier-Brown
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On February 10, U.S. Representatives John Katko (R-NY-24) and Anthony Brindisi (D-NY-22) introduced the Safe Harbors for Our Recreation Economy (SHORE) Act. This bipartisan legislation would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to account for recreation-based economic impacts in cost-benefit analysis procedures to prioritize funding for harbor maintenance, intracoastal, and inland waterways projects.

“Communities across the country are being forced to deal with significant damages caused by rising water levels, with many small businesses and marine dealers being flooded and going underwater. It is critical that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Office of Management and Budget consider the significant economic impact recreational boating and fishing has on local economies – which generates over $170 billion in economic output annually while supporting nearly 700-thousand well-paying American jobs – and that they prioritize the many outstanding recreational infrastructure projects out industry needs,” said MRAA Government Relations Manager, Adam Fortier-Brown. “We thank Representatives John Katko and Anthony Brindisi for their bipartisan leadership in sponsoring the SHORE Act, which will ensure that our industry receives the funding and consideration that we urgently need and deserve nationwide.”

“Led by boating and fishing, outdoor recreation is one of the fastest growing segments of the economy – generating $778 billion in annual economic output and supporting 5.2 million American jobs – and the SHORE Act will help our industry continue to power national and local economies well into the future,” said Callie Hoyt, NMMA director of federal government relations. “We thank Representatives John Katko and Anthony Brindisi for their leadership on this legislation, which will ensure recreation-based water infrastructure projects across the country receive the attention and funding they need and deserve.”

“Boating and recreation generates millions of dollars in regional economic benefits and creates hundreds of Central New York jobs. However, as communities across Lake Ontario’s southern shore continue to face the devastating consequences of rising water levels, it is critically important that U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) prioritize funding recreational infrastructure projects that play a significant role in our local economy,” said Rep. Katko. “To achieve this, I introduced the Safer Harbors for Our Recreation Economy Act, bipartisan legislation that will prioritize critical maintenance water infrastructure projects in Little Sodus Bay, Fair Haven, Oswego, and coastal communities across Lake Ontario. Prioritizing and executing these maintenance projects will play a key role in creating jobs and driving economic growth and development.”

The current process for prioritizing water infrastructure projects only accounts for commercial activity, leaving water-based recreational activities at a disadvantage. Recreational boating across the U.S. depends on safe, navigable waterways so that boaters can continue to enjoy our natural resources. MRAA supports the SHORE Act, and other legislation that would make the federal government more efficient with taxpayer dollars, and more responsive to the infrastructure needs of our industry.

Specifically, the SHORE Act:

  • Bolsters the recreation economy by directing the USACE and OMB to account for recreation-based considerations in cost-benefit analysis procedures for harbor maintenance projects. This ensures the economic benefits of recreational boating are thoroughly considered as part of the project authorization processes.

  • Improves transparency for USACE and OMB’s processes for prioritizing harbor maintenance projects by requiring these agencies to report to Congress on their procedures and issue recommendations for establishing a uniform calculation for recreation-based economic benefits.

For more information, please contact MRAA Government Relations Manager, Adam Fortier-Brown at adam@mraa.com.


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