Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., M.D., (R-South Louisiana) issued the following statement after leading a letter with (57) of his colleagues to the House Appropriations Committee in support of allocating sufficient funds from the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) to support harbor maintenance.
“Our ports and waterways provide tremendous economic impact for Louisiana, keeping shipping costs low and providing a competitive advantage for our businesses. We should use every dollar generated by the Harbor Maintenance Tax for its intended purpose – maintaining our waterways. As we work toward that goal, it is important that we hold the line on allocating sufficient funds for dredging. I’ll continue fighting for Louisiana businesses by supporting a well-maintained water infrastructure,” he said.
The Water Resources and Reform Development Act (WRRDA) passed by an overwhelming bipartisan margin of 412-4 earlier this year included language similar to Boustany’s Realizing America’s Maritime Potential (RAMP) Act. The WRRDA language established targets of annual incremental funding increases in the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) leading to full use of HMT revenues by FY2025.
FY2015’s target set by WRRDA is 67% of 2014 HMT revenues, or $1.166 billion. The House-passed Energy & Water Appropriations bill included this amount, but the Senate only proposes appropriating $1.075 billion, missing the WRRDA goal. The Boustany-led letter to the House Appropriations Committee urges the importance of hitting that target number and utilizing the HMT for its intended purpose.