Army Corps of Engineers releases federal funds on the heels of site tour with Senator Markey


Washington (June 11, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Representative William R. Keating (D-Mass.) today announced $13.5 million in federal funding to dredge Plymouth Harbor. In 2020, Plymouth Harbor will be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower and the settlement at Plymouth. Regrettably, the Harbor has filled up with so much sediment that ships – including the centerpiece of the celebration, the newly-restored Mayflower II – cannot today sail into and out of the harbor. The newly-secured federal funding will help the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers complete this dredging project by 2020 and allow these ships to sail in and celebrate the 400th anniversary. Last week, Senator Markey and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Ricky “R.D.” James toured Plymouth Harbor and evaluated the immense historical, commercial, and public safety functions the Harbor serves.


“Mainsails and masts may have given way to cargo and cruises, but Plymouth Harbor’s esteemed position in American history lives on,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. “The Pilgrims safely navigated Plymouth Harbor’s waters and their descendants should be able to make the same journey. I thank Assistant Secretary James for his support for this critical project. With this funding Plymouth Harbor will be able to host an historic birthday party – one that Americans from sea to shining sea will remember forever.”


“This new federal funding is terrific news for Plymouth, the South Shore, and our Commonwealth,” said Senator Warren. “As we prepare to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower, we also celebrate the important role this historic harbor plays in our communities. The dredging project will help support the local economy, and I’m glad to have worked with Senator Markey and Congressman Keating to get this critical federal support.”


“I’d like to thank Senator Markey for inviting me to tour some of Massachusetts’ key water resource projects: Plymouth Harbor, Boston Harbor, the Cape Cod Canal bridges, and the Town of Sandwich,” said Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Ricky “R.D.” James. “Senator Markey has been a leader on these important issues, and I’ve enjoyed working with him in a genial, bipartisan manner. I look forward to continuing to partner with Senator Markey on improving the nations’ waterways and increasing our economic vitality.


“Senator Markey met with us, listened to our need to have Plymouth Harbor dredged and took immediate action to make it happen. That is true leadership,” said former Senate President Therese Murray. “The dredging of the Harbor is critical for our 400th celebration, but, as important, it will benefit public safety, as well as our overall tourism and fishing industries. I am grateful that Senator Markey and our delegation led the efforts in Washington to secure this funding for America’s Hometown.”


“I would like to thank Senator Markey and Secretary James for coming to Plymouth and the Cape Cod Canal on Friday to listen to the major challenges that this region face,” said State Senator Vinny deMacedo. “I’m excited to have confirmed today that Senator Markey and our federal delegation have secured the $14 million to dredge Plymouth Harbor.”


“I am grateful to U.S.  Senator Ed Markey for visiting Plymouth twice in eight weeks and for his advocacy with our federal delegation partners to make this dredging request a priority,” said State Representative Matt Muratore. “I also want to thank Senator Markey and U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Ricky James for visiting Plymouth Harbor this past Friday to hear from local businesspeople and officials and for today’s announcement that the funds to dredge Plymouth Harbor have been secured.  Dredging the Harbor will greatly benefit our commercial fishing industry and be an economic boon for our tourism industry as we approach the 400th Anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower.”


“The town of Plymouth is so pleased at this federal commitment and the personal attention that this community has received for dredging Plymouth Harbor,” said Plymouth Town Manager Melissa Arrighi. “On behalf of the Board of Selectmen and local fisherman, we want to thank Senator Markey, the Army Corps of Engineers, and Assistant Secretary James for their investment in the town.”


“Thank you to Senator Markey for visiting Plymouth twice in the last two months and bringing Assistant Secretary for the Army R.D. James to tour Plymouth Harbor and see firsthand the vital importance of dredging here,” Plymouth Harbormaster Chad Hunter. “For years the word on the docks has been that no one would see Plymouth Harbor dredged in their lifetime, but thanks to Senator Markey and the Army Corps of Engineers, that pipe dream will soon be a reality. Dredging Plymouth Harbor will protect our commercial fishing fleet and expand our port capabilities by allowing small tall ships and cruise ships the ability to move around the harbor without the risk of running aground. This funding comes in the nick of time as we prepare to welcome the world for Plymouth’s 400th celebration!”


“We were so pleased to welcome Senator Markey to Plymouth this April to meet with Plymouth 400 stakeholders and have been grateful for his determined advocacy for dredging Plymouth Harbor in time for the Mayflower II to return home in time for 2020,” said Executive Director of Plymouth 400, Inc. Michele Pecoraro. “This partnership of federal and local entities is the only way to have a meaningful national presence for this anniversary. The commemoration of Plymouth 400 means a lot to people around the world, but for Massachusetts and our country it’s really a time for us to remember our history and to move forward with that knowledge into a new era. Dredging this historic port will bring great economic benefit to the Plymouth area and Massachusetts at large by allowing more fishermen, recreational boaters, and small cruise ships to call Plymouth a home port. Plymouth is America’s Hometown, and thanks to this funding, we will be able to welcome home the Mayflower II, and visitors, Pilgrim descendants and Wampanoag tribal members to explore all perspectives of the history of 1620.”


During Assistant Secretary Ricky ‘R.D.’ James’ nomination hearing before the Senate EPW Committee, he committed to work with Senator Markey on securing federal funding for this project.


In April, Senator Markey led a letter with Senator Warren and Representative Keating calling on the Corps to provide funding for this important project in the FY18 work plan. Senator Markey also met in Plymouth with state and local officials and representatives of Plymouth 400th to provide an update on efforts to secure funding for dredging.