While decrying tariff burdens, the American Association of Port Authorities is continuing to advocate for sufficient federal funding for port projects and related multimodal endeavors, as well as harbor maintenance.

AAPA’s president and chief executive officer, Kurt J. Nagle, in an Aug. 16 letter to Senate and House appropriations leaders, reiterated support for 33 percent of national infrastructure investment program funding to be dedicated to port projects. AAPA is seeking a total fiscal 2019 Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or BUILD, funding level of $1 billion, or preferably $1.5 billion.

As Congress mulls appropriations measures, Nagle also is backing inclusion of $7 million for the America’s Marine Highway Program, supporting short-sea shipping and inland waterway undertakings.

And Nagle’s letter endorses the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program with a funding level of $300 million for CRISI grants, including those facilitating better intermodal rail links for ports.

Furthermore, AAPA continues, as it has for more than a decade, to fight for full intended use of Harbor Maintenance Tax collections, seeking to ensure that the levies paid by shippers go to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to pay for undertakings to restore and maintain channels through a fair and equitable approach.

In responses to a recent survey, U.S. AAPA port members identified a total of more than $20 billion in projected multimodal port and rail access needs in the next decade.

“Infrastructure delivers more than you think, and investments in our nation’s port-related infrastructure pay enormous dividends,” Nagle said in opening an August roundtable discussion co-hosted by the Port of Philadelphia. “Cargo activity moving through ports accounts for over a quarter of the national economy.”