Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) announced today that his amendment to fast track improvements to the Sabine Neches Waterway (SNWW) was included in the Water Resources Development Act Reauthorization (WRDA) marked up by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today in Washington, D.C.

Currently, improvements to widen and deepen the SNWW can not take place until the Army Corps of Engineers completes their study of the project. Poes amendment will require the Army Corps of engineers to fast track the study thereby initiating the much needed improvements to the SNWW.

This project was started by the Corps in 2000 with a completion date of 2004 and a cost of $6 million, said Poe. It is now 2007, the project report is still not completed, and the price tag has soared to $13 million. The inclusion of the Sabine Neches Waterway as a fast track project will finally get us the help we need to widen and deepen the waterway. Once the study is completed, appropriations for the actual work to widen and deep the waterway can get underway. I was encouraged by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Oberstars commitment to giving Sabine Neches Waterway projects priority in the next WRDA Bill. We are one step closer to getting the work done.

The SNWW is home to the largest commercial military port in America based on tonnage, and it is the second largest in the World. Approximately 20-30% of America's commercial jet fuel is produced on the SNWW. The significant amount of our military's jet fuel that is produced on the SNWW remains a matter of national security.

Securing additional funding to improve the channel has been a top priority since I was elected to Congress, added Poe. I will continue to educate other Members of Congress on the importance of the SNWW to our countrys energy industry and national security.

The SNWW is the primary supplier to America's Bighill and Hackberry strategic oil reserves. An estimated 73 million tons of crude oil, 28 million tons of petroleum products, and 8.5 million tons of chemical cargo move through the SNWW's marine terminals annually. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) latest Waterborne Commerce data discloses approximately 74,794 total vessel and barge trips are made on the SNWW in a year. This traffic is expected to exceed the recommended maximum operating capacity in the next three years because of the $25 billion in new infrastructure invested along the SNWW to construct America's first new refinery since 1976, expand its three existing refineries, and construct three of America's eight new LNG plants.

Congressman Poe serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation and member of the Congressional Port Security Caucus.