U.S. Senate Passes Bill to Fund U.S. Navigation Infrastructure
The U.S. Senate passed the fiscal 2017 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill by a vote of 90-8 last week.
The bill, which is the first fiscal 2017 appropriations legislation to pass the Senate, funds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers navigation program, which is crucial for the maintenance and improvement of America’s coastal and inland navigation waterways.
The bill includes $1.3 billion for Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT)-funded work, $37 million above the fiscal 2016 funding level and $160 million above the HMT funding target for the year that was established in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014.
The bill also includes new navigation study and construction starts, as well as funding the Donor and Energy Transfer Ports program (established in 2014 to provide greater HMT equity) at $50 million, which is double last year’s funding level and the full amount authorized in WRRDA 2014.
“This is extremely important legislation that will aid our economy and environment, and the ability of America’s ports to handle increasingly larger cargo and passenger ships,” said Kurt Nagle, CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). “It reflects substantial advocacy by AAPA and our member seaports to appropriate crucial funding to maintain and improve our nation’s navigation infrastructure and provide more donor equity.”
The House version of this bill, which passed out of the Appropriations Committee last month, is awaiting floor action.
“We now look to the House leadership to bring this bipartisan bill to the House floor for a vote soon,” Nagle added.
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