The following statement was released today by the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) in response to 2018 Water Resources Development Act legislation being marked up this week by committees in both chambers of Congress:
“We’re pleased to see the House and Senate committees this week approving their versions of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that authorizes water resources projects and makes important programmatic efficiency improvements. This is a positive step that addresses the President’s call for nationwide infrastructure improvements.
“We thank Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Chair John Barrasso (R-WY) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE), Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Chair Jim Inholfe (D-OK) and Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD), House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chair Garret Graves (R-LA) and Ranking Member Grace Nepolitano (D-CA) for their leadership on enacting WRDA this year and for addressing several AAPA-sought improvements in their bills.
“However, it’s critical that WRDA legislation also includes the details of a historic agreement reached among the nation’s major ports that provides equity and fairness regarding the allocation of the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT), a crucial funding source that continues to enable national economic growth and keep U.S. ports viable in the global marketplace.
“With a quarter of the nation’s GDP and more than 23 million American jobs dependent on well-maintained ports, we’re hopeful that this week’s markup of WRDA in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will result in legislation that guarantees full use of the HMT by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“We’re particularly grateful to Representative DeFazio for his leadership on full use of the HMT, as well as Representatives Napolitano and Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) for their supportive comments of the AAPA agreement in the House markup of the bill today and encouragement for the Committee to continue to work with AAPA to advance our members’ priorities as the legislation moves to the floor. We’ll continue to work closely with Congress to ensure that AAPA’s historic funding solution is included in the final legislation.”