The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has announced it is pleased with the level of funding proposed in Congress.
A committee of both houses of Congress have agreed on a proposal to submit to be approved by the full Congress. This will then have to be approved by Obama before it becomes law but there is no indication that either Obama or the full Congress plan to reject it.
An AAPA spokesperson told CM: “It’s less than we asked for but more than we thought we would get” and in a statement AAPA CEO Kurt Nagle welcomed the proposal.
The largest increases in the proposal are for the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) coastal navigation programme, which helps ports with dredging, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s diesel emissions reduction act grants programme, which helps ports reduce harmful emissions.
Funding for the Corps coastal navigation projects and studies is US$2.6bn, which can be spent on projects and studies. On top of this, there will be US$1.2bn from the harbour maintenance trust fund, which is raised from a small tax on every US shipment and can be spent on maintaining existing deep-draught channels but not on new studies or projects.
The proposal has approved six new navigation planning studies and six new navigation construction starts. The Corps will decide which specific projects the money is spent on, from a list submitted by President Obama.
Funding for diesel emission reduction will be US$50m, two-thirds more than last year. This will be spent on improving and upgrading diesel engines to make them less polluting.