USA: Boustany Introduces “Realize America’s Maritime Promise Act”
U.S. Representative Charles W. Boustany, Jr., R-Southwest Louisiana, recently introduced the Realize America’s Maritime Promise (RAMP) Act. This legislation will ensure that funds designated for dredging projects in America’s harbors and ports will be used solely for this purpose.
“Dredging federally maintained waters to their authorized levels is crucial for Louisiana and the American economy,” said Boustany. “For too long, Congress used the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to disguise the federal deficit, limiting the fund’s ability to address real problems along many of the waterways important to trade, commerce and jobs. These waterways create thousands of jobs throughout the Gulf Coast region, but chronically underfunded dredging imperils those jobs and commerce each year.”
The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund currently has a balance of approximately $5.1 billion, yet this funding is not being used to address the backlog of necessary maintenance dredging needed to sustain vital infrastructure. Failure to maintain these harbors and ports impacts regional and national commerce, reduces America’s economic competitiveness, and increases the risk of vessel groundings, collisions, and pollution incidents. “During this time of economic turmoil, we cannot afford to threaten these water highways that are so important to our nation’s commerce,” Boustany said.
The bill is cosponsored by 26 bipartisan, nationwide Members of Congress who understand the importance of adequately maintaining the nation’s ports and waterways.
Funds from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund are also used to rebuild wetlands by way of beneficial use of dredged material projects. Congressman Boustany has worked tirelessly in Congress to protect Louisiana’s coast and has been at the forefront of the fight to ensure that Louisiana harbors are adequately maintained.
Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, represents the 7th Congressional District