The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) today praised the leadership of the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committeefor releasing the six-year MAP-21 Reauthorization Act (S. 2322) that puts a high priority on freight movement investments.
“We commend Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA and Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee), Senator David Vitter (R-LA and Ranking Member of the Committee), Senator Tom Carper (D-DE and Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee) and Senator John Barrasso (R-WY and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee) for introducing the MAP-21 Reauthorization Act, which is very freight-focused and includes language that requires states to develop freight plans and ensures those plans consider the needs of America’s seaports.
“The EPW leadership has crafted a bill with stronger provisions that not only mandate states to spend part of their federal apportionment on freight-related plans and projects, but that those plans and projects consider the needs of ports. The ‘last mile’ connections with seaports are historically the poorest maintained portions of the overall transportation system, possibly because their primary purpose is carrying freight rather than passenger traffic.
“We’re also pleased to see the bill re-introduces a Projects of Regional or National Significance freight program that includes the connections with ports as being eligible for funding. The bill also allows states to mitigate for freight transportation impacts, such as authorizing grants for clean truck programs and diesel reduction strategies.
“With growing international trade volumes now accounting for more than a quarter of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, America’s ports are the nation’s economic lifeline. Bills such as this that prioritize freight movement and encourage the efficient movement of goods into and out of America’s ports help ensure there’s an effective utilization of limited resources that pays dividends through sizable tax revenues, increased trade and commerce, long-term job creation, secure borders and environmental stewardship.”
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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.