The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), together with 100 supporting U.S. ports and other organizations, delivered a letter to House and Senate leadership earlier this week, urging them to enact a comprehensive solution to “fix the HMT (Harbor Maintenance Tax) for good”.
As AAPA reported, America’s seaports are economic engines and vital freight gateways to global markets for American farmers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers. Ports also serve as critical infrastructure for the U.S. military.
Keeping the water highways into its ports well maintained is critically important for U.S. competitiveness, AAPA wrote in the letter.
They also added that the HMT is paid by shippers to maintain U.S. harbors. Full use of this tax has yet to be achieved, nor is it guaranteed in the future. There are also well documented problems related to tax fairness that must be fixed. More than 100 stakeholders agree, said AAPA in its release.
The letter to Congressional leadership highlights a proposed solution offered by AAPA that would provide both full use of annual HMT revenues, as well as address tax fairness issues.
AAPA’s proposed solution calls for full spending of prior year Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund revenues, according to a framework that ports agreed would be fair and equitable.
According to the letter, AAPA’s proposed solution “makes maintenance the highest priority, provides protections to address small port and regional port needs, provides increasing equity to large HMT donors and acknowledges Congress’ priority to provide support to energy transfer ports.”