Kurt Nagle, president and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities, said in a statement, “The House mark would bring [Harbor Maintenance Tax] spending to 95% of the estimated $1.782 billion FY2019 HMT revenues. We look forward to reaching 100% use of the revenues as well as the use of the over $9 billion surplus in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. Full spending of all revenues and the port industry’s funding allocation agreement would provide the needed resources to bring our nation’s harbors to their authorized depths and widths and address tax equity and fairness issues for all U.S. ports.”
The fiscal year 2020 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies appropriations bill also would provide the Corps with $135 million for investigations, which is a $10 million increase over the fiscal year 2019 level and $58 million above the presidential budget request, and $3.92 billion for operation and maintenance, a $183.5 million increase over the fiscal year 2019 level and $1.99 billion above the request.
The bill also would make full use of the estimated receipts for the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) and provide for six new study starts and six new construction projects.
The IWTF hovered around $400 million from 2016 to 2018 following the passage of WRDDA. Waterways Council Inc. President and CEO Mike Toohey reiterated on Tuesday the council’s request to Congress to change the 50/50 cost share to 75% from general revenue and 25% from the IWTF, which would match the cost share for deep draft ports, as an option to maintain that funding level.
In all, the appropriations legislation would invest $46.4 billion to fund the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of the Interior programs, the Department of Energy and other related agencies. The funding level is a $1.8 billion, or 4%, increase over the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.