Port-Related Funding Reduced In President’s FY2018 Budget
Federal support for port dredging, facility improvements, environmental enhancements and security could decrease under Administration’s funding recommendations
Today, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) – the recognized and unified voice of America’s seaports – is concerned over the potential of significant declines for most federally funded, port-related programs in President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget.
“We’re apprehensive about the fiscal 2018 budget,” said Kurt Nagle, AAPA president and CEO. “Adequate federal investments into U.S. port-related infrastructure, both on the landside and waterside, are crucial for the efficient movement of goods so the nation can remain globally competitive. Activities at U.S. seaports account for more than a quarter of the nation’s economy, support over 23 million American jobs and generate more than $320 billion a year in federal, state and local tax revenue. It’s vital the federal government uphold its end of the partnership with ports so the country can have a 21st century goods movement system in place.”
Proposed for the budget chopping block is the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants program, which last year awarded U.S. ports $61.8 million in multimodal infrastructure grants such as dock, rail and road improvements. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security Grants Program (PSGP), which Congress last funded at $100 million and which provided 35 port security-related grants in fiscal 2017, is expected to experience a significant cut.
President Trump has also proposed cutting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget by 31 percent. EPA’s budget funds the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grants. While no details were released today on the fate of this program, which is authorized at $100 million, DERA grants have been especially helpful in decreasing port-related diesel emissions in near-port communities. These federal grants have helped ports to make investments in clean diesel equipment and reduction strategies at the ports themselves, and they’ve used them to help businesses buy newer, cleaner-burning trucks, locomotives and vessels.
While the president’s proposed budget calls for increasing the overall U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) budget by $400 million over the previous administration’s request of $4.6 billion, the request still represents a 16 percent decrease in the Corps budget when compared to the Continuing Resolution fiscal 2017 level. Details for the Corps’ Coastal Navigation portion of the budget aren’t yet known, but are expected to be available in May. The Coastal Navigation program funds improvements and maintenance in America’s harbors and deep-draft shipping channels.
“International trade through ports is vital to our economy,” said Mr. Nagle. “To help the public and policymakers fully recognize the value and contributions to the economy related to our ports, AAPA has created theAmerica: Keep It Moving campaign, which highlights the needs and benefits of investing in seaport infrastructure.”
Below are AAPA’s key recommendations for the fiscal 2018 budget:
Provide $2.9 billion for the Corps’ Navigation program, including $1.6 billion for the Coastal Navigation portion that covers deep-draft investigations, construction, operations and maintenance, and donor and energy transfer port activities.
Expand USDOT’s TIGER program, or create a new, multimodal discretionary grant program like it, and fund it at $1.25 billion annually.
Continue funding USDOT’s FAST Act programs at currently authorized levels, which includes formula funds to states and FAST Lane grants for nationally and regionally significant transportation projects. Furthermore, expand the amount of funds available for multimodal projects which is currently limited to $500 million a year through 2020.
Increase funding to $400 million for the Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security Grant Program and increase the number of CBP officers in the maritime environment by 500.
Fund DERA grants at the $100 million authorized level.
Mr. Nagle concluded: “While the president’s budget request includes significant funding cuts to some port-related programs, we’re hopeful that, as the fiscal 2018 budget process as well as the anticipated sizable infrastructure package moves forward, that significant federal investments will be made in port-related infrastructure. Such investments will pay huge dividends in terms of economic growth, American jobs and tax revenues.”
AAPA’s recommendations provided to the Trump Administration and the 115th Congress on key seaports priorities are available athttp://bit.ly/2ghLJPn. Details on AAPA’s America: Keep It Moving campaign are available at http://bit.ly/2m7cvOm.
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About AAPA Founded in 1912, AAPA today represents 140 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 250 sustaining and associate members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports. According to IHS Inc. - World Trade Service, combined international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere ports in 2015 totaled 3.45 billion metric tons in volume and US$3.36 trillion in value. Of that total, ports in Central and South America handled 1.69 billion metric tons of cargo valued at US$1.15 trillion, while North American ports handled 1.76 billion metric tons of goods, valued at US$2.21 trillion. To meet the growing demand for trade, the AAPA and its members are committed to keeping seaports navigable, secure and sustainable. For more information, visit www.aapa-ports.org. On Twitter: http://twitter.com/AAPA_Seaports