“Arkansas and Oklahoma have been working for years to deepen the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System so barges and boats can carry larger loads,” Boozman said.
Deepening the channel would provide a 40 percent increase in the capacity of river barges to transport products for Arkansas farmers and factories and reduce the price of goods for consumers across the country.
Committee witness Scott Robinson, Port Director at Muskogee City-County Port Authority, explained that businesses that use the channel are at a competitive disadvantage.
A 2015 analysis of the economic impact found the MKARNS contributes billions of dollars to the economy with $8.5 billion in sales, supporting nearly 56,000 jobs and $289 million in taxes.
Boozman has fought to deepen the Arkansas River navigation channel to 12 feet. The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, signed into law in 2016, includes a provision authored by Boozman to protect the Arkansas River 12-foot channel project.