AAPA Urges Dedicated Funding for Port Infrastructure in Final FY’19 USDOT Spending Bill
Letter to Senate Appropriations Subcommittee focuses on National Infrastructure Investment, Marine Highways and CRISI programs
To provide adequate resources for three key federal programs that help fund multimodal port-related infrastructure in the United States, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) – the unified and recognized voice of America’s seaports – has sent a letter to the leadership of both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees’ Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD).
The letter commends the subcommittees’ leadership on their commitment to fund multimodal port infrastructure, such as the first/last mile connections (roads, rails, bridges, tunnels and waterways) with America’s seaports. It also strongly recommends they adopt the House provision that a third of the funding for the portion of the National Infrastructure Investment Program focusing on multimodal BUILD/TIGER-style projects be dedicated to port infrastructure projects.
“Because dedicated multimodal infrastructure funding for ports is one of AAPA’s top priorities, we particularly appreciate House THUD Subcommittee Chairman Mario Díaz-Balart making it a priority in his bill,” said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle. “AAPA members have consistently advocated for increased BUILD/TIGER funding levels. We heartily supported Chairman Díaz-Balart when he successfully championed 33 percent funding for port infrastructure projects in the House USDOT appropriations bill, and we hope to see that funding level in the final compromise bill.”
AAPA is advocating that the fiscal 2019 BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) program adopt the Senate funding level of $1 billion, or if possible, the fiscal 2018 level of $1.5 billion. AAPA members have identified $32 billion in needed federal investments in port landside connections and facility infrastructure.
For the Marine Highway Program, AAPA strongly supports the $7 million of funding in the Senate bill because the program provides U.S. ports and communities an important option for using ocean and inland waterways to reduce highway congestion.
The third program identified as a priority in AAPA’s letter is the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program. AAPA recommends the House funding level of $300 million for CRISI grants because of the port rail access eligibilities the program provides and the opportunities it offers for strong rail and port partnerships.
“We thank both the Senate and the House THUD appropriations subcommittees for their leadership on multimodal infrastructure funding issues,” said Mr. Nagle. “We look forward to working with them and their Appropriations Committee colleagues on maintaining the 33 percent funding level for ports and setting a funding level of at least $1 billion in the final FY’19 appropriations bill so that ports and their industry partners can adequately address these important infrastructure and supply chain issues,” said Mr. Nagle.
Cargo activities at America’s seaports are significant drivers of the U.S. economy, supporting more than 23 million American jobs and generating over $320 billion in annual federal, state and local taxes. All but 1 percent of the nation’s overseas trade moves through its maritime facilities, and U.S. seaport cargo activities account for more than one-quarter of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
About AAPA Founded in 1912 and recognized as the unified voice of seaports in the Americas, 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 Markit’s World Trade Service, combined international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere ports in 2016 totaled 3.49 billion metric tons in volume and US$3.01 trillion in value. Of that total, ports in Central and South America handled 1.71 billion metric tons of cargo valued at US$941 billion, while North American ports handled 1.79 billion metric tons of goods, valued at US$2.07 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