As Sustained High-Water Levels Continue to Threaten CNY Shoreline Communities, Rep. Katko Introduces Legislation to Prioritize Lake Ontario Water Infrastructure Projects, Support Local Recreation Economy

February 10, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24), today introduced the Safer Harbors for Our Recreation Economy (SHORE) Act. This bipartisan legislation prioritizes water infrastructure projects across Lake Ontario by requiring the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to account for recreation-based considerations in cost-benefit analysis procedures for harbor maintenance projects.  In Central New York, this would include projects in Little Sodus Bay, Fair Haven, and the Port of Oswego.

“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 (SHORE) 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.”

“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, National Marine Manufacturers Association (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.”

Specifically the SHORE Act:

  • Bolsters the Central New York 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.

Despite high water levels that have continued to plague homeowners, municipalities, and businesses along Lake Ontario, Rep. Katko has prioritized supporting the economy of our region’s coastal communities and recently announced that following his advocacy, the USACE will soon begin a feasibility study on deepening the Port of Oswego.

Rep. Katko was joined by Rep. Brindisi (NY-22) in introducing this measure.


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