Marking its 104th year as the recognized and unified voice of seaports throughout the Americas, AAPA selected Sen. Alexander and Rep. Simpson for the association’s most prestigious annual award due to their leadership in providing targeted funding levels to implement the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014. Sen. Alexander and Rep. Simpson each chair their respective chamber’s Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee.
WRRDA 2014 made significant improvements in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ study, construction and funding processes. It established annual incremental increases in the percentages of Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) revenues spent, leading to full use of HMT revenues in fiscal year 2025, and included provisions to address donor equity. After enactment of WRRDA 2014, AAPA initiated its Hit the HMT Target! campaign with other navigation stakeholders to advocate for the targeted funding levels.
“Sen. Alexander and Rep. Simpson not only supported WRRDA 2014, but as a result of their effective leadership, the fiscal 2016 Energy and Water Development appropriation surpassed the HMT target, provided a significant increase in funding for coastal navigation construction and, for the first time, $25 million for donor and energy transfer ports,” said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle.
“AAPA appreciates the dedication that Sen. Alexander and Rep. Simpson have shown to improving U.S. water resources and infrastructure, and the critical role they played to ensure that, in fiscal year 2016, Congress met the funding commitments contained in WRRDA 2014,” said Mr. Nagle. “We look forward to working with these two influential legislators in future years on funding that continues to hit the HMT target funding level and also provides more equity for donors.”
Each year, AAPA presents its Port Person of the Year award to an individual or individuals who have made significant contributions to the port industry. Recent award recipients include: Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Lic. Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa, General Coordinator of Mexican Ports and Merchant Marine – 2015; Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Cong. Bill Shuster (R-PA) – 2014; Cong. Janice Hahn (D-CA) and Cong. Ted Poe (R-TX) – 2013; Cong. John Mica (R-FL) – 2012; U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) – 2011; Adm. Thad W. Allen, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard and The Honourable David L. Emerson, P.C., former Minister of Industry, International Trade and Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada – 2010; Cong. Jane Harman (D-CA) – 2009; U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) – 2008; Panamanian President Martin Torrijos – 2007; U.S. Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-ME) – 2006; and U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta – 2005.
The joint 2016 “Port Person of the Year” awards will be presented separately; first to Sen. Alexander on April 7 as U.S. port leaders visit Capitol Hill as part of AAPA’s 2016 Spring Conference event; and next to Rep. Simpson after the House of Representatives is back in session after the Easter recess.