The U.S. Senate has passed a bill to fund 31 water infrastructure projects across the country, including a project to improve navigation for large ships in Portsmouth Harbor and the Piscataqua River between New Hampshire and Maine.

The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act will now go to President Obama to be signed into law. Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent, released a statement Saturday praising the legislation.

“The authorization of the Portsmouth Harbor and Piscataqua River Navigation Project is also a victory for the safer and more efficient flow of commercial goods into the state, which will bolster our economy and help contribute to economic growth,” he said.

Portsmouth Harbor handles about 3.5 million tons of shipping each year for southern Maine, New Hampshire and eastern Vermont. The project would expand the turning basin, so larger ships can navigate the harbor safely.

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