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  June 8th, 2018 | Written by

AAPA Supports House Water Resources Bill

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  • WRDA 2018 streamlines maritime infrastructure improvements.
  • Maritime legislation expedites evaluations and provides greater funding flexibility for new projects.
  • AAPA: Ensure that all of the federal harbor maintenance taxes collected are fully spent each year.

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) voiced support this week for the US House of Representatives passing HR 8, its version of the 2018 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). AAPA hailed the legislation as providing policy revisions to improve and streamline product delivery in the US Army Corps of Engineers’ navigation program.

“By approving WRDA 2018 by a vote of 408 to 2, we commend the House of Representatives for helping ensure that crucial water resources legislation is addressed and passed by Congress on an every-two-year basis,” said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle. “The House bill just passed continues the trend of streamlining maritime infrastructure improvements by expediting evaluations, enabling timely decisions and providing greater funding flexibilities, as well as authorizing new projects.

“Looking ahead,” he continued, “we will continue working with both chambers of Congress to include additional provisions to WRDA 2018 to ensure that all of the federal harbor maintenance taxes collected are fully spent each year so there’s continued availability and competitiveness of our nation’s harbors.”

Recently, AAPA’s US-member port authorities reached a long-term industry agreement on the future spending of federal harbor maintenance taxes, which are levied on the value of seaborne imports into the US and on domestic, port-to-port transfers of cargo. Implementing AAPA’s industry agreement will provide economic and jobs benefits to ports nationwide, and help drive the economy forward.

“Our long-term solution for harbor maintenance tax spending,” said Mr. Nagle, “fixes the inequities in our current system while addressing the health and well-being of our seaport water highways that are critical for delivering goods and services to all Americans. We’ll continue urging Congress to include this agreement prior to WRDA 2018 being enacted.”

Cargo activities at US seaports support 23 million jobs and generate $320 billion in annual federal, state and local taxes. All but one percent of US overseas trade moves through maritime facilities, and US seaport cargo activities account for more than one-quarter of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.