American Association of Port Authorities Calls on Congress to Invest in Ports

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) submitted written testimony to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s subcommittee on Water Resource and Environment on the “Cost of Doing Nothing.” The AAPA called on Congress to invest in critical landside and waterside connections to seaports, fully use Harbor Maintenance Tax revenues and implement a long-term funding solution for port maintenance.

“Landside and waterside investments are critical to building America’s 21st century seaport infrastructure. AAPA has highlighted $66 billion in federal need over the next decade for port-related infrastructure. About half of that need, $33.8 billion, is for waterside investments,” said Kurt Nagle, AAPA’s president and CEO.

The Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) is paid by shippers to ensure the nation’s ports are well maintained.

Ports requiring traditional dredging as well as donor ports (where a large proportion of the HMT revenues are collected) require the use of HMT funds. According to the AAPA, approving a long-term funding solution for port maintenance that makes full use of the HMT more permanent and includes language to address tax fairness and cargo diversion problems is critical. The four pillars of their suggested solution are: full use of future HMT revenues; a funds distribution framework that makes permanent and expands donor and energy transfer port funding, as well as expands the allowable in-water use of these funds; minimum regional funding assurances based on historic funding; and emerging harbors funding that updates the provisions in WRRDA 2014 and WIIN 2016 to guarantee no less than 10 percent to these harbors.

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The AAPA, founded in 1912, 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.