U.S. Seaports Do Well In Fiscal 2016 Congressional Spending Bill
In reviewing the $1.15 trillion spending bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) noted that there are significant funds to enhance U.S. port infrastructure.
The largest increases are for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Coastal Navigation Program and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grants program.
The agreement also includes level funding for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants program and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Port Security Grants Program.
“AAPA welcomes the significant increase in the corps’ navigation program,” said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle. “The bill hits this year’s Harbor Maintenance Tax target of $1.22 billion, increases navigation construction funding, includes new study and construction starts, and provides $25 million for the Donor and Energy Transfer Port program that was established in the 2014 WRRDA [Water Resources Reform and Development Act] to provide more HMT equity. We were also pleased to see that the conference agreement approves up to seven new navigation planning studies and six new navigation construction starts for America’s 21st century maritime infrastructure.”
Among the assistance provided to U.S. ports in the legislation, there is $2.6 billion for Army Corps of Engineers coastal navigation projects and studies, as well as $1.2 billion from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, a 7.1 percent increase over the $1.12 billion approved last year by Congress and significantly more than the President’s fiscal 2016 budget request of $915 million.
DERA grants, which help U.S. ports reduce air emissions from their operations, will increase by two-thirds to $50 million from $30 million, while TIGER discretionary grants and DHS port security grants will stay the same as last year, at $500 million and $100 million, respectively.
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