AAPA Chairman Bridges To Testify On Economic Value Of Seaports
House Water Resources & Environment Subcommittee asks: Are U.S. ports prepared for the future?
Jerry A. Bridges, chairman of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority in Norfolk, Va., will provide testimony tomorrow (Oct. 26) to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Water Resources and Environment (WR&E) Subcommittee of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. His testimony is to answer two questions: What is the value of U.S. seaports to the nation and are U.S. ports ready to compete for trade in the future?
Mr. Bridges will emphasize that federal funding for waterside connections with America’s seaports has slowed and decreased, particularly for new construction, while appropriations for navigation maintenance is only about half of what is required. He will also note that landside improvements to handle freight have been too low a priority among policymakers, affecting the ports’ ability to move cargo efficiently into and out of the country.
“This,” he says, “hurts U.S. business, hurts U.S. workers and hurts our national economy.”
According to AAPA President Kurt Nagle, deep-draft coastal and Great Lakes ports are the crucial links which connect America’s exporters with markets overseas. “Our seaports also provide access for imports of raw materials, components, and consumer goods that are a key part of U.S. manufacturing and our standard of living,” he said.
If the U.S. is to meet trade demands and address goals like the Obama Administration’s 2010 initiative to double exports by 2015, there must be a significant federal investment in freight transportation infrastructure, including connections to seaports, to make this a reality, he said.
AAPA’s recommendations to improve America’s transportation infrastructure include the federal government increasing the priority for funding deep-draft navigation; Congress passing a new surface transportation bill that results in greater funding for port, freight and landside infrastructure, including TIGER (Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery) grants; and ensuring adequate funding for security and environmental grant programs that benefit ports, port users and their communities.
Jerry A. Bridges, Chairman of the Board, AAPA, and Executive Director, Virginia Port Authority
Testimony for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
10:00 a.m., Oct. 26, 2011
Room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
To answer the questions: What is the value of U.S. seaports to the nation and are U.S. ports ready to compete for trade in the future?