Washington Waves
Washington Waves

House GOP Working On Funding Strategy

Washington, D.C.—With only days left before another funding deadline, House Republicans conceded they had not yet settled on a workable strategy to avoid a government shutdown on November 17.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) told reporters that Republicans are working earnestly on a way to keep the government funded.

“Trust us,” he said. “We’re working through the process in a way that I think the people will be proud of.”During his remarks to the press, he also repeatedly stressed the national debt and importance of funding the government in a responsible manner.

Citing the need to avoid an unnecessary government shutdown as well as providing aid to Israel and Ukraine, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged Republicans to focus on proposals that can draw support from both parties.

“The outcome of all of this hangs on one word, one word,  bipartisanship,” Schumer said.

PIDP Grants

The Maritime Administration (MarAd) announced more $653 million in 41 port improvement projects across the nation under the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) to help grow capacity and increase efficiency at coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports and inland river ports. (See related story in this issue.)

MarAd said the investments are part of the largest dedicated funding for ports and waterways in history, nearly $17 billion through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) applauded the announcement.

“The Port Infrastructure Development Program is a bulwark funding source for the modernization of America’s seaports,” AAPA President and CEO Cary Davis said. “These competitive grants will be used to expand capacity, repair seawalls, build new berths, upgrade terminals, improve intermodal connections and rehabilitate wharves and docks. PIDP is essential to maintaining strong ports, and by extension, a strong America.”

Near-Miss Reporting

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) is requesting comments on a new information collection for a voluntary program on confidential reporting of “near misses” occurring on vessels within the Maritime Transportation System (MTS).

Written comments should be submitted within 30 days of the publication of the notice in the November 6 Federal Register.

They should be sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th St. NW, Washington, DC 20503, Attention: BTS Desk Officer.

Comments should address whether the information will have practical utility; the accuracy of the estimated burden hours of the proposed information collection; ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

In response to BTS’s request in August for comments to docket number 2023-0115, one comment was received from the National Transportation Safety Board in support of the program, which is formally called the SafeMTS–Voluntary Near-Miss Reporting and Analysis System.

For additional information, contact Allison Fischman at 202-748-0546 or allison.fischman@dot.gov.