AAPA Appoints “Port Person of the Year” (USA)
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) received the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) “Port Person of the Year” award yesterday, in recognition of his support in improving the nation’s maritime and port infrastructure.
Chairman Mica spoke to a gathering of the nation’s port leaders in Washington during AAPA’s 100th anniversary event, and stated that ports and maritime highways are as important to the U.S. transportation network as roads, bridges, airports and rails.
“Ports are the nation’s gateways and economic engines. One of my goals is to ensure that the fees collected at our ports for harbor maintenance are no longer diverted to cover unrelated federal spending. These critically needed infrastructure resources must be dedicated for their intended purpose,” Mica said. “We must stop shortchanging our ports, robbing them of resources and leaving the needs of our port infrastructure behind.
“At the end of this fiscal year, the balance in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund will exceed $7 billion. The transportation reauthorization pending in the House calls for investing all available Trust Fund resources in maintaining our harbors.
“We must look to the future of maritime transportation, promote the use of cost effective marine highways, and address the growing need for megaports that can handle significantly larger ships for commercial and passenger vessels.
“With larger and larger ships engaging in international trade and tourism, and the expansion of the Panama Canal, significant economic and employment opportunities are available to the United States, but only if our port and harbor infrastructure is ready for these challenges.”
Dredging Today Staff, March 21, 2012; Image: Paul Scott Abbott, AAPA Seaports Magazine