U.S. Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., MD (R-Southwest Louisiana) today announced Representative Bob Gibbs (OH-18) as the 100th co-sponsor of the Realize America’s Maritime Promise (RAMP) Act. Rep. Gibbs is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, the subcommittee with jurisdiction over the RAMP Act. The bill ensures funds in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) are utilized for the intended purpose of dredging and maintaining coastal ports, harbors and waterways.
“Louisiana is a global leader in trade, and proper maintenance of our ports is critical for our exports to grow,” Boustany said. “I am extremely pleased so many members understand the importance of dredging, especially in light of the recent floods in South Louisiana. I thank Congressman Gibbs for his support of this critical legislation, and I encourage other members concerned about jobs and economic growth in our country to sign on.”
The RAMP Act, introduced by Congressman Boustany in January, guarantees the funds collected annually by the Harbor Maintenance Tax on imports at U.S. ports are allocated by Congress for the sole purpose of dredging and maintenance. The Harbor Maintenance Tax collects $1.3 to $1.6 billion annually. Before moving to the House for a full vote, the RAMP Act must pass through Chairman Gibbs’ Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.
“We must maintain our nation’s ports in order to not only compete, but lead a global economy,” said Rep. Gibbs. “The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund has long been used by members of Congress as a source of earmarks for pet projects in their districts, but this bill puts a stop to that. I applaud Rep. Boustany for putting together a bipartisan piece of legislation that ensures the money that goes into the HMTF is used specifically for these critical projects improving our nation’s infrastructure.”
Barry Holliday, Chairman of the Realize America’s Maritime Promise Coalition, added “Chairman Gibbs’ co-sponsorship of H.R.104 is an important milestone for this bill. One-fifth of this nation’s gross domestic product depends on maintaining U.S. harbors and navigation channels to provide access by cargo vessels. Enacting this bill will unclog these arteries of commerce using funds already being paid by maritime commerce for this purpose.” The RAMP Coalition includes the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District, Mike Hooks Inc., the Port of Morgan City and the World Trade Center of New Orleans.
Rep. Gibbs joins 99 colleagues from both sides of the aisle as a co-sponsor, including:
-Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp
-Budget Committee Chairmen Paul Ryan
-Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton
-Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas
The bill is also co-sponsored by Louisiana Republican Congressmen Rodney Alexander, Bill Cassidy, Steve Scalise and John Fleming. The Senate version has 21 co-sponsors including Louisiana Senators David Vitter and Mary Landrieu.
Source: boustany.house, June 14, 2011;