The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has approved funding for a critical provision that would reform the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and significantly benefit the ports of Tacoma and Seattle.
As so-called “donor ports,” the ports of Seattle and Tacoma currently receive pennies for each dollar credited to the fund through Harbor Maintenance Tax collections. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Patty Murray succeeded in fully funding Section 2106 of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).
This section was co-authored by Senators Murray and Maria Cantwell and signed into law in 2014. Murray’s funding provision was included in the Senate’s proposed Energy and Water Appropriations bill.
“Ports are the lifeblood of the Washington state economy, and so I was proud to work with my colleagues to make sure this bill works for Washington state workers and the economy,” Murray said. “I will keep working to make sure the ports of Seattle and Tacoma get the resources they need to make infrastructure improvements and retain a competitive edge over ports in Canada and Mexico, which is critical to the entire U.S. economy.”
Section 2106 reforms the HMT to address for the first time in history the system’s inequities toward “donor ports” and cargo diversion by authorizing $25 million for these ports to use for port infrastructure improvements and rebates to importers and shippers.