Retiring Congressman Bill Shuster, chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, earlier this week released a legislative discussion draft outlining his vision to invest in U.S. infrastructure, including for surface and water transportation programs.
Among those voicing support and appreciation for Cong. Shuster’s leadership in promoting this discussion is the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA).
“AAPA thanks Chairman Shuster for supporting improvements to America’s transportation infrastructure and we look forward to working with his committee and others in Congress to ensure, in particular, that freight transportation infrastructure continues to be a high priority and works well for ports,” said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle.
“Two important priorities AAPA would look to have addressed in any infrastructure legislation would be to raise the multi-modal cap on the FAST Act funds and broaden the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) provision to tie it to the recent port industry agreement.”
The association projects that the seaport industry will require about $66 billion in infrastructure investments over the next decade to ensure U.S. job creation, economic growth and tax fairness. This includes nearly $34 billion for waterside projects, like deep-draft dredging of harbors and channels, and about $32 billion for landside projects, like road and rail connectors to ports.
Chairman Shuster’s proposal includes significant improvements to both the surface transportation system linking to ports and waterside funding needed to maintain America’s harbors.
It outlines ideas on how to make the Highway Trust Fund solvent, authorizes a national infrastructure investment program similar to TIGER/BUILD, and extends FAST Act freight programs for a year – all of which are important to U.S. ports, said AAPA in its release.
The proposed legislation also includes a mechanism to allow revenue deposited in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which funds maintenance of federal navigation channels into U.S. ports, to be fully appropriated and expended each year.