AAPA Campaign Urges Congress to Fully Fund Freight Provisions in Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill This Fall
U.S. seaports need vital landside upgrades to reduce congestion, maintain freight mobility, ensure global competiveness
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) – the unified voice of seaports in the Americas – today said its members would push for full funding of critical freight mobility provisions in legislation that Congress is expected to finalize this fall, known as the surface transportation bill. The Senate in July passed a six-year transportation bill, the DRIVE Act (H.R. 22), and the House will begin deliberations this month.
AAPA’s “Freight: Keep it Moving” campaign (#FreightKeepItMoving) will activate industry leaders and educate lawmakers from key Congressional districts about the importance of landside infrastructure at U.S. seaports, which are increasingly vital for job creation, global competitiveness and the health of the nation’s economy.
“With port activity accounting for more than a quarter of the entire U.S. economy, it’s critical that our seaports have seamless links to other segments of the nation’s freight transportation network,” said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle. “We will deliver the urgent message to Congress that fully funding landside seaport connections is required to keep freight moving for American manufacturers, workers, farmers, consumers and communities nationwide.”
According to a recent report by Martin Associates of Lancaster, Pa., U.S. seaport cargo activity in 2014 sustained more than 23 million jobs and generated $321 billion in tax revenue. In addition, the total value of maritime activity related to America’s seaports last year reached $4.6 trillion, or 26 percent of the total U.S. economy, an increase of 6 percent since 2007. Much of this economic activity was generated by $6 billion worth of goods moving through U.S. seaports on a daily basis – a level of freight mobility threatened by increasing congestion and a lack of federal support for infrastructure.
In the AAPA's 2015 “The State of Freight” report, one-third of association members said that congestion at landside connectors over the past 10 years had caused productivity at their port to decline by 25 percent or more. Nearly 80% of AAPA’s U.S.-member ports require at least a $10 million investment in their landside connectors through 2025; 31% require over $100 million. AAPA members identified $28.9 billion in needed landside freight infrastructure investments in the next decade. AAPA leaders say they will raise awareness about the risks posed by failing to fund programs that benefit connections such as railways, roads, bridges and tunnels.
“The ability of U.S. seaports to efficiently move freight is threatened by conditions that severely limit productivity and competitiveness,” said Mr. Nagle. “Fully funded freight provisions in the next surface transportation bill will help us build world-class port connections and maintain a leading role in global trade and domestic job creation.”
The DRIVE Act includes $11.7 billion for a new National Freight Program and $2.1 billion for a new Assistance for Major Projects Program. The DRIVE Act also authorizes $200 million annually to fund a multimodal Freight Investment Grant Program.