Congressman Comer Advocates For Waterways Investment To House Transportation Committee
Congressman James Comer advocated before the U.S. House Committee of Transportation and Infrastructure on Friday to get more federal investment toward rehabilitating Kentucky’s waterways infrastructure and toward eradicating Asian Carp.
Comer told the committee the Purchase Region serves as a major hub for transporting commodities across America. Comer said Paducah is a strategic location at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers for Kentucky's river industry.
Comer also said Kentucky's river industry moves around 100 million tons of cargo per year, with a combined value of over $10 billion .
“These major infrastructure projects are strategic investments in the future of our nation’s infrastructure,” said Comer. “Americans deserve consistent, stable federal funding in order to capitalize on our highly skilled workforce and foster further industrial development.”
Comer asked for more funding in the Inland Waterways Trust to expedite the timeline for 23 projects, to be completed in 20 years instead of 40 years.
He said the infrastructure is over fifty years old and his district is “paying the price.” Upgrades are needed to levees for flood protection and dams for hydropower.
Comer also brought attention to the impact Asian carp is making on west Kentucky’s outdoor recreational industry, worth $1.2 billion.
“Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake are in my congressional district and are home to some of the top outdoor recreation sites and all of Kentucky,” said Comer. “However, the explosion of carp is driving boaters and fishermen away from our region, ruining the annual fishing tournaments that draw hundreds of visitors to the area and infuse millions of dollars into the local economy.”
Comer said progress has been made towards eradicating Asain Carp, but he still plans to prioritize resources to fight the invasive species.