U.S. Congressman Mike McIntyre announced that a bill to help the Wilmington Port has passed the U.S. House of Representatives.
“This is great news for the Wilmington Port! I am pleased that my colleagues and I were able to approve this measure on a bi-partisan basis so that centers of maritime commerce like the Wilmington Port are able to better maintain the safety and soundness of navigation lanes,” said McIntyre. “Reforming the fund will ensure that the Wilmington Port receives the money it deserves from the contributions of its users to the fund.”
McIntyre is a cosponsor of the Realize America’s Maritime Promise (RAMP) Act, which would make improvements to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) to ensure that each dollar collected by the fund is spent on harbor maintenance. Currently, the HMTF allocates less than two-thirds of the fund’s revenue for harbor maintenance which has resulted in an accumulation of more than $7 billion in surplus.
The RAMP Act was approved by a bi-partisan vote of 293 – 127 as a part of the Transportation Extension Bill. The proposal to include the RAMP Act in this legislative package was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Reforming the HMTF is a key component of Congressman McIntyre’s Coastal Compact, a plan to revitalize the maritime infrastructure and coastal resources in the southeastern North Carolina.
The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is used to finance up to 100 percent of the dredging costs at a port harbor and is financed through a fee on cargo imported through a port or moved between two domestic ports. The Harbor Maintenance Trust fund needs to be reformed to deliver more dollars to the Harbors that finance the fund.
In between 1999 and 2008, the HMTF disbursed over $69 million dollars to the Port of Wilmington and over $200 million dollars to the state of North Carolina.
Congressman McIntyre has long been a supporter of investments to coastal infrastructure and Coastal Storm Risk Management Projects and is founder and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Waterways Caucus.
Dredging Today Staff, April 20, 2012; Image: ncports