Ventura County's two congressmen have asked a key congressional panel for $5.2 million next year to extend a breakwater at the mouth of the Ventura Harbor to cut down on dredging and make the harbor safer for boaters.
Reps. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) and Robert J. Lagomarsino (R-Ventura) sent a letter Tuesday to the House Appropriations Committee asking that money be allocated now to save money in the long run.
The Army Corps of Engineers, which would build the project, estimates that the breakwater and other improvements would save the government half of the annual $1.1-million dredging costs by reducing the sand that now sifts into the harbor.
Richard Parsons, general manager of the Ventura Port District, said extending the breakwater and the harbor's north jetty would also improve safety for boaters in heavy seas.
The Surfrider Foundation, a group of ecologically minded surfers, says the project would degrade the Rivermouth surfing area at the opening of the Santa Clara River.
President Bush's budget has recommended that Congress allocate only $750,000 next year for engineering and design work.
But the House Appropriations Committee, the beginning point for all spending bills in Congress, often alters the president's recommendations.