The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) today lauded passage on Wednesday of the House floor amendment to the fiscal 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations bill that increases the Corps of Engineers funding to meet the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) funding target included in the recently enacted Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).
The amendment, which added $57.6 million and was offset by decreasing funding in the energy side of the bill, was spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA), co-chair of the Congressional PORTS Caucus, and U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI). The amendment passed on a strong 281-137 vote.
AAPA Government Relations Vice President Susan Monteverde said the quick passage of the amendment “is evidence of the impact of the strong education and outreach by the maritime industry and freight cargo community, including AAPA and its members, over the last few years related to the importance of fully using the HMT and its importance to maintaining our international competitiveness.”
AAPA worked closely with the PORTS Caucus to build support in Congress for meeting the first-year WRRDA HMT funding target. Last week, AAPA partnered with the PORTS Caucus to hold a briefing for congressional staff on the importance of hitting this WRRDA funding target. AAPA and House Appropriations Committee staff informed approximately 65 House staff and other stakeholders about the complex new programs WRRDA creates and identified the target funding levels that appropriators must meeting in order to access additional funding.
Jonathan Gold, vice president of Supply Chain and Customs Policy for the National Retail Federation, also participated in the briefing and laid out how an improved waterway navigation system will strengthen the nation’s infrastructure efficiency.
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Founded in 1912, AAPA today represents 160 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 300 sustaining and associate members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports. As a critical link for access to the global marketplace, each year, Western Hemisphere seaports generate trillions of dollars of economic activity, support the employment of millions of people and, in 2008, imported and exported more than 7.8 billion tons of cargo, valued at $8.6 trillion, including food, clothing, medicine, fuel and building materials, as well as consumer electronics and toys. The volume of cargo shipped by water is expected to dramatically increase by 2020 and the number of passengers traveling through our seaports will continue to grow. To meet these demands, the AAPA and its members are committed to keeping seaports navigable, secure and sustainable.