Ports Group ‘Encouraged’ By U.S. House Transportation Bill
AAPA urges robust, sustainable freight provisions be included in final legislation
Like many other goods-movement interests, America’s seaports are pleased to see new freight provisions contained in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization & Reform Act of 2015 (STRR; H.R. 3763), which House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced earlier this week and was approved today by their committee.
For the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) – the unified and recognized voice of seaports in the Americas – a key provision in the six-year bill is a “Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects” grants program in which ports are eligible to compete. Another key aspect important to ports is a title to address policies and planning for multi-modal freight transportation. Additionally, the bill requires state freight plans, expands the National Highway Freight Network to include highway connections to critical facilities such as ports and intermodal facilities, and requires establishment of a national freight strategic plan—all of which address port needs in the planning process.
“We’re encouraged that the House surface transportation legislation has language in it that focuses on the nation’s freight needs to improve the flow of goods moving to and from our nation’s ports,” said Kurt Nagle, AAPA president and CEO. “We congratulate Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member DeFazio and the House T&I Committee for advancing a bill that includes priorities for freight. We’re now working to ensure that robust, sustainable freight provisions are a key focus in the final legislation crafted between the House and Senate versions of the bill.”
The STRR funding package would provide grants for large-scale projects of national or regional significance, including—for the first time—intermodal connections with ports. Funding would be set at $4.5 billion for fiscal years 2016 through 2021. An additional $200 million a year in credit assistance would be authorized for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program to help finance qualified capital projects.