USA: Congressman Urges President to Invest in Harbors
U.S. Congressman Mike McIntyre and many of his colleagues are urging the President to include in his upcoming budget an investment in the harbors and ports to protect and create jobs.
Congressman McIntyre stated: “Our ports affect up to 65,000 jobs in our state! North Carolina is home to two fantastic ports – Wilmington and Morehead City – and they are critical components of our local economy. As they continue to expand and look for business opportunities, it is essential that are regularly dredged and maintained to maximize efficiency and loads. We need to make sure that the funds that are being collected for our harbors and ports are being dedicated to their respective uses, and we urge the President to include this funding in his upcoming budget.”
Below is an excerpt of the letter:
“As you know, the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) was created in 1986 to establish a dedicated funding source for dredging and other required maintenance of the nation’s coastal harbors. Cargo vessels are assessed a user fee on imported and domestic cargo arriving at U.S. ports and harbors. While recent annual revenue from these fees has totaled approximately $1.5 billion, only about half of that amount, on average, has been spent on its intended purpose. At the beginning of Fiscal Year 2014, the balance of the trust fund is estimated to total approximately $8,098,000,000. Revenues collected into the HMTF are not being utilized for their intended purposes.
“As you finalize your FY14 budget, we request that you include sufficient funds for operations and maintenance of federal funds equivalent to revenues collected into the HMTF for FY2014. Failure to address this critical backlog in dredging and harbor maintenance will further jeopardize our nation’s ports and harbors, while putting at risk the jobs of many hard working Americans. This issue is critical to improving our nation’s infrastructure and strengthening American competiveness and the economy.”
Press Release, March 15, 2013