Friday , 23 March 2018
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US ports call for infrastructure funding

US ports call for infrastructure funding

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has told the US Senate that US ports should get US$66bn from Trump’s US$1tn infrastructure promise.

The AAPA was represented by Port of Cleveland CEO William Friedman who made the case for water infrastructure to the US Senate’s committee on environment and public works.

Friedman’s testimony to the hearing, titled ‘America’s water infrastructure needs and challenges’, focused on issues related to navigation infrastructure maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement.

During his election campaign, US President Trump promised US$1tn in infrastructure spending. So far, it has remained unclear whether and how this promise will be met.

“AAPA is looking forward with great anticipation to a focus on America’s infrastructure investment needs by the Trump Administration and Congress in 2018. Our testimony tomorrow will kick-off the new year with infrastructure as a priority, including waterside infrastructure that needs to be addressed in the next WRDA (Water Resources Development Act) legislation,” said AAPA CEO Kurt Nagle.

“Seaport cargo activity accounts for 26% of US GDP, over 23 million American jobs, and generates over $320 billion annually in federal, state and local tax revenues,” Nagle continued, “to ensure these jobs, tax revenues and freight volumes continue to grow and support the American economy, AAPA has worked with its member ports to identify $66 billion in federal port-related infrastructure investments over the next 10 years, on both the waterside and the landside.”

In addition to providing examples of waterside infrastructure needs, Friedman offered AAPA’s recommendations for water resources legislation to enhance the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers navigation program. Also testifying on the same panel were representatives for the Restore the Mississippi Delta Coalition, the National Association of Counties, the Congressional Research Service and the Muskogee City-County Port Authority in Oklahoma.

Friedman also share three key AAPA recommendations for inclusion in the next WRDA bill. They are: 1) that future Harbour Maintenance Tax revenues go directly to the Corps of Engineers rather than into the U.S. General Fund; 2) that Congress authorise and construct navigation project improvements recommended in the Corps’ Chief of Engineer’s reports, and; 3) that additional streamlining be implemented on the Corps’ study process for navigation channel improvements.

“Ports serve as economic engines and vital freight gateways to the global marketplace for American farmers, manufacturers and consumers, and serve as critical infrastructure for the U.S. military in any deployment overseas,” said AAPA’s Nagle. “Our testimony before the Senate EPW Committee is a way to draw further attention to the value that ports provide and to stress that efficient waterside and land side connections to ports must be a top priority in any broad federal infrastructure package that we’re optimistic will be advanced this year.”