U.S. members of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) have increased confidence that their key priorities will be addressed after passage of an omnibus spending package to fund the federal government through September 30, 2018, AAPA said in its latest release.
The spending bill contains funding for a number of AAPA’s top infrastructure and intermodal priorities, both on the landside and the waterside.
On the waterside, the omnibus includes $6.83 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, an increase of $789 million from fiscal 2017.
The bill funds the Corps’ navigation program at $3 billion, with $123 million for General Investigations (GI), $2.085 billion for Construction General (CG), and $200 million for the Corps’ regulatory program.
The Corps’ Operations & Maintenance (O&M) program, which pays for crucial maintenance dredging in America’s deep-draft harbors and channels, is funded at $3.63 billion, with $1.4 billion coming from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), an increase of $100 million over last year’s appropriation.
The bill also requires the administration include six new studies and five new construction starts in the Corps work plan, said AAPA.
AAPA President and CEO, Kurt Nagle, remarked that the new spending legislation reflects the association’s priorities for improving the “oftentimes overwhelmed, antiquated and deteriorating transportation links with America’s ports,” and represents the first step by Congress to favorably respond to the President’s infrastructure priorities.