Ports association emphasizes need for freight focus in long-term reauthorization bill
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) and its member U.S. ports today are grateful for the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Highway and Transportation Funding Act (H.R. 5021) and urges President Obama to quickly sign the bill, which provides additional funding to supplement Highway Trust Fund revenues through May 2015.
With a short-term “patch” now approved, the ports association encourages lawmakers and the Administration to quickly refocus efforts on a long-term bill that includes sustainable funding for freight transportation projects.
“Passage of H.R. 5021 ensures that our nation will avert an immediate crisis and keeps funding flowing to surface transportation projects throughout the country until a longer term fix is developed.
“AAPA applauds both the House and Senate for having agreed on legislation to ensure continued spending from the Highway Trust Fund. We’re hopeful that Congress and the Administration will wisely use this extra time to agree on a multi-year transportation reauthorization bill that keeps our economy moving and includes dedicated funding for freight transportation projects.
“To accommodate what the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs predicted last year will be more than 400 million people living in the U.S. by 2050, and what the American Trucking Associations last week predicted will be a 23.5 percent increase in U.S. cargo volumes by 2025, there must be adequate, safe, and congestion-free access to our ports from both the land- and water-side. This can only be accomplished with a long-term surface transportation bill that provides dedicated funding for cargo-related transportation project investments.
“AAPA also strongly encourages individual states to incorporate port-related surface transportation needs into state transportation plans and funding decisions.
“Identification of, and funding for, critical freight infrastructure is vital to America’s international competitiveness and sustainable job growth. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration on a long-term highway bill that includes robust provisions for freight, including ‘first and last mile’ projects, gateways and corridors that connect with ports.”
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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.