Vitter working to protect dredging funds - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Vitter working to protect dredging funds

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Southwest Louisiana is the busiest part of the state in terms of job creation, according to U.S. Senator David Vitter, who spoke with the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance about the changes he hopes will be made to improve the state and the nation's economy.

Vitter on Wednesday said the Calcasieu Ship Channel is an important resource to SWLA and the state, and it's in desperate need of some attention. 

Vitter helped pass the Water Resources bill, which will help improve the dredging situation, something he said is vital to the area.

"In this dredging category, we have revenue from industry that goes into a so-called trust fund. The problem is in the best of years, only about half of that money is used for its intended dredging purposes. The other half is basically stolen and used for completely unrelated programs," Vitter said.

The Water Resources bill would fix that problem and make sure the money goes to the right place and for the right purpose.

Vitter said it's important to get the dredging dollars to make the ship channel the right depth so the port can sustain all of the activity.

The bill would increase dredging funds without increasing overall spending or contribute to the deficit, according to Vitter.

"On the budget front, of course, we need to make a lot of reforms and a lot of cuts to get spending and debt under control. That is $16 trillion, 100 percent of GDP every economist agrees that is an unsustainable path," he said.

Vitter hopes the new bill will help bring more economic development along SWLA's energy corridor by improving our state's resources.

Vitter said the Water Resources bill passed out of the committee last week and is expected to go to the floor in the coming months.

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