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Philly-Area US Lawmakers Pledge Efforts For River Deepening

Philadelphia River Port Authority head John Esty, at lectern, shakes hands with Sen. Bob Casey.  Photo by Pat Loeb)

Philadelphia River Port Authority head John Esty, at lectern, shakes hands with Sen. Bob Casey. Photo by Pat Loeb)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia area’s congressional delegation is trying to make sure a project to deepen the Delaware River stays on track.

Members are promising to push for funding in the next federal budget.

The project has been on the books since 1992 and was designated to receive funding for many years.  But environmental studies and lawsuits postponed the work.

Ironically, now that the major legal hurdles have been cleared, the money is no longer available.

Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) joined US representatives Bob Brady (D-Pa., face obscured by microphone in photo) and Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa., left of Brady) to announce that they’ll fight to get the money in the federal budget.

“This is a difficult challenge, but we’re going to fight very hard to make sure that the president and his team understand the essential nature of this project to the region,” Casey said on Monday.

They’ll be squaring off against their counterparts in New Jersey and Delaware, who oppose the project.  Brady says such opposition is silly.

“It’s not competition,” Brady said.  “They’re bursting at the seams. They can’t handle the ships that are coming up the river. We can — if we get the river dredged.”

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060.