New Legislation Would Invest in Recreational Boating Infrastructure

This week, Representatives John Katko (R-NY-24) and Anthony Brindisi (D-NY-22) introduced bipartisan legislation that ensures critical water infrastructure projects are funded on an equitable, sustainable, and needs based system – a top priority on NMMA’s infrastructure agenda. The Safer Harbors for Our Recreation Economy Act (SHORE Act) would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to account for recreation-based economic impacts in cost-benefit analysis procedures used to prioritize funding for harbor maintenance, intracoastal, and inland waterways projects.

“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, 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.”

“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 USACE and OMB prioritize funding recreational infrastructure projects that play a significant role in our local economy,” said Representative Katko. “To achieve this, I introduced the 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.”

The boating industry’s significant economic contributions rely on safe, navigable waterways. By only accounting for commercial activity, the existing process fails to account for the value created by access for recreation activities leaving our economy at a disadvantage. In a time when federal lands and waters face a multi-billion-dollar deferred maintenance backlog, NMMA is calling on the federal government to be more strategic and efficient with the use of taxpayer dollars on infrastructure.

The SHORE Act would do the following to help ensure the maintenance needs of recreation-based harbors and waterways:

  • Directing the USACE and OMB to account for recreation-based considerations in cost-benefit analysis procedures for harbor maintenance, intracoastal, and inland waterways projects. This ensures the economic benefits of recreation are considered as part of the project authorization process.
  • Improve transparency and consistency in how recreation is accounted in project prioritization procedures by requiring USACE and OMB to report to Congress on how they have executed provisions of the SHORE Act and issue recommendations for establishing a uniform calculation for recreation-based economic benefits.

For more information, please contact NMMA director of federal government relations, Callie Hoyt at choyt@nmma.org.