Rep. Bost Introduces Bill To Help Inland Ports

U.S. Representative Mike Bost (R-Ill.) introduced bipartisan legislation June 30 to increase access to critical federal funding for small ports, terminals and waterways. Bost’s bill, the Coastal and Inland Ports and Terminals Commerce Improvements Act, establishes a competitive grant matching program for projects at smaller ports and terminals and makes privately-owned terminals eligible for assistance.

“America’s inland ports and terminals are a vital and undervalued contributor to the movement of commerce,” said Aimee Andres, executive director of Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals, Inc. of East Alton, Ill.

“Every year, 575 million tons of cargo travel through our inland ports and waterways, including America’s Central Port and Kaskaskia Port in Southern Illinois,” Bost said. “Half a million American jobs depend upon inland shipping, yet these ports are at a disadvantage when competing for federal grants. Improving these facilities will have a big impact on our economy and help make local farmers, miners and manufacturers more competitive in the marketplace.”

In 2019, Congress enacted the PORTS Act to provide matching grants for enhancing operations and efficiency investments at the nation’s larger ports. Bost’s Coastal and Inland Ports and Terminals Commerce Improvements Act, which was co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), expands upon the success of the PORTS Act by better utilizing an existing set-aside to establish a similar competitive grant matching program for smaller coastal and inland ports and terminals.

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“The legislation sponsored by Congressman Bost and Congressman Lamb addresses inequities in existing law that have placed smaller coastal ports and terminals at a disadvantage when competing for infrastructure investments and create long-term sustainability,” Andres said. We appreciate their leadership on this important issue to IRPT members.” She called the legislation historic. The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Carol Miller (R-W.Va.), Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) and Vicky Hartzler (D-Mo.).