President’s FY2018 Budget: Port-Related Funding Declines

In reviewing the details announced yesterday in President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget request, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) said that they see declines for most federally funded, port-related programs.

“However, AAPA is encouraged by the Administration’s recently announced major infrastructure initiative to support $1 trillion in infrastructure over 10 years, of which $200 billion would be in direct spending. Of that $200 billion, $5 billion is proposed for spending next year,” AAPA said in its press release.

AAPA president and CEO, Kurt Nagle, said: “AAPA applauds President Trump’s call to invest $1 trillion into America’s infrastructure over the next decade. The port industry has identified a need of $66 billion in federal investments to port-related infrastructure over that time.”

“Ports and their private sector partners plan to invest $155 billion over the next five years alone in port facility infrastructure, and it’s vital that supporting federal investments be made, primarily to improve the waterside and landside connections to our nation’s ports.”

Over the next decade, AAPA is calling for $66 billion in federal funds for port-related infrastructure to ensure U.S. job creation, economic growth, safe and secure ports and tax fairness.

On the waterside, AAPA recommends investing $33.8 billion to maintain and modernize deep-draft shipping channels, and $32.03 billion to build vital road and rail connections to ports and improve port facility infrastructure.

Mr. Nagle also noted that activities at U.S. seaports account for more than a quarter of the nation’s economy, support over 23 million American jobs and generate more than $321 billion a year in federal, state and local tax revenue.

Among the budget proposals for next year is eliminating the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) TIGER grants program, which last year awarded U.S. ports $61.8 million in multimodal infrastructure grants such as dock, rail and road improvements.

While the Administration’s budget request calls for increasing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funding by $400 million over the previous administration’s request of $4.6 billion, the request still represents a 16 percent decrease in the Corps budget when compared to the funds provided in the fiscal 2017 Omnibus, said AAPA.