Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) this week requested $4.9 million for several continuing federal water projects in Ventura County during the next fiscal year, including the maintenance and dredging of the Channel Islands and Ventura harbors.
Gallegly, who represents most of Ventura County, asked for the funds in written testimony delivered Tuesday to the House Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water development. He said approval of the money for the Army Corps of Engineers "would have the dual effect of providing flood control and economic development benefits for Ventura County."
Gallegly made precisely the same pitch last year when he requested $7.4 million. Congress appropriated $7.28 million for Ventura County projects.
Most of Gallegly's specific requests were included in President Clinton's proposed budget. The lone exception was $300,000 for an engineering and design survey of several Ventura Harbor jetties that were damaged when the Northridge earthquake seriously displaced armor stones.
The appropriations panel's deliberations represent the first congressional step in the budget process for the 1995 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. The deliberations will culminate in a massive energy and water development spending bill next fall.
The largest sum on Gallegly's list is $2.42 million for the operation, maintenance and dredging of Channel Islands Harbor. An additional $1.2 million is sought for routine maintenance and dredging of Ventura Harbor's navigational channel. The harbor generates more than $30 million annually in direct and indirect benefits, the lawmaker said.
Congress allocated $4.8 million last year to complete a breakwater expansion to make Ventura Harbor safer as well as $1.2 million for annual dredging.
The county is seeking another $500,000 to allow the Corps of Engineers to complete a study of Santa Paula Creek. This would enable the corps to finish planning, engineering and designing specifications for a project designed to eventually provide flood protection to a large portion of the central business and residential areas of Santa Paula.
Gallegly also requested $205,000 for operation and maintenance of the Port of Hueneme and $300,000 for a continuing study of the feasibility of widening and deepening the harbor entrance to accommodate larger vessels. Over the past two years Congress has approved a total of $600,000 for the port expansion survey.
The port has attracted considerable new business since it was designated a port of entry by the U. S. Customs Service two years ago.
Most recently, port officials announced an agreement with Del Monte Fresh Produce Inc. to build a $3-million cold-storage warehouse on the port's south terminal. Del Monte guaranteed at least $600,000 in annual tariff charges.