The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) sent a multi-faceted document to President-Elect Donald Trump’s transition team last week.
The paper outlines opportunities to, in the words of the president-elect’s campaign, “Make America Great Again,” by strategic investments in seaports and related freight transportation assets, thereby helping U.S. businesses better compete in markets at home and abroad.
“President-Elect Trump has put forth an ambitious goal of investing up to $1 trillion to rebuild America’s infrastructure, for which freight transportation and ports are vital components,” said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle.
“An enhanced focus on freight transportation and ports would help achieve the new administration’s goal of building a better economic future for America.”
Among the key recommendations laid out by AAPA are:
Relieve traffic bottlenecks and expand capacity by:
- providing additional FAST Act investments and a sustainable freight trust fund to plan and build multimodal projects;
- establishing a properly funded and staffed Office of Multimodal Freight Transportation within the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Office of the Secretary;
- supporting funding for a robust StrongPorts program under the USDOT Maritime Administration to help ports plan for their 21st century infrastructure needs;
- increasing investments for authorized marine highway projects to ensure transportation alternatives alongside congested landside transportation corridors;
- increasing funding for transportation infrastructure grants to $1.25 billion per year.
Modernize and fully maintain federal navigation channels by:
- making harbor maintenance tax (HMT) spending a priority;
- continuing the goal toward full use of the HMT; ensuring equity and fairness of HMT distributions; increasing funding for HMT maintenance spending in the FY2018 budget request, including funding for Donor and Energy Transfer Ports; devising a permanent solution as part of tax reform or other legislation for ensuring all annual HMT revenues are spent;
- increasing federal investment in navigation channel deepening and widening;
- improving efficiencies in the deep-draft study and construction process;
- continuing progress to finish navigation projects in a timely manner to better compete in world markets;
- providing operations and maintenance funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Physical Oceanic Real-Time System, or “PORTS,” to help mariners navigate safely.
Secure America’s ports and waterside borders;
Help protect the environment and build resilience.