Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA). The legislation authorizes federal programs for navigation, dredging, flood control and other in-water projects.
The bill included two important provisions for the Port of Tacoma:
– The permanent authorization of Section 214, which is an important tool used to ensure federal permits are processed in a timely manner;
– Language providing limited reform of the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT). While not nearly as comprehensive as is needed, WRRDA provides a positive first step by acknowledging the unique needs of natural deep-water donor ports like Tacoma that do not require maintenance dredging.
The Senate already passed a version of this bill that includes authorizing payments to importers transporting cargo through HMT donor-ports. This provision, crafted by Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, could mitigate some of HMT’s adverse impacts on Puget Sound ports and incentivizes shippers to use U.S. ports.
Press Release, October 30, 2013