WRDA sails through House

Congressional Ports Caucus disappointed harbor maintenance language removed from bill.

WRDA sails through House

Congressional Ports Caucus disappointed harbor maintenance language removed from bill.

WRDA sails through House

Congressional Ports Caucus disappointed harbor maintenance language removed from bill.

 
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 (WRDA) by a vote of 408-2.
    But port advocates expressed concern that a provision to assure all the money from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is used to maintain harbors.
      “By approving WRDA 2018 last night 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 Kurt Nagle, the president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Port Authorities. 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.”
    A similar concern was raised by the co-chairs of the Congressional Ports Caucus, Reps. Ted Poe, R-Texas, and Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif.
   “We believe that Congress should use this bill to ensure the full use of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) . It is long past time that the proceeds from this user fee go to their intended purpose: maintaining our nation’s harbors, and we are disappointed that language to make this key reform was removed from the bill,” they said in a joint statement. “Ports move freight, they support American exports and they drive our economy. It is critical that we make needed investments to modernize our harbors and ensure they remain competitive.”
      AAPA said that recently its U.S. members "reached a long-term industry agreement on the future spending of federal harbor maintenance taxes."
    The Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) was enacted by Congress in 1986. Shippers pay 0.125 percent of the value of imported cargo. The tax is not assessed on export cargo because of a 1998 Supreme Court decision that said taxing exports was unconstitutional.
    HMT receipts are deposited in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), but not all the money collected with the HMT is spent on harbor maintenance, but has been used to reduce the size of the federal deficit.
    According to the president's budget for the 2019 fiscal year, in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017, the balance of the HMTF was about $9.1 billion and projected to grow to $9.4 billion by the end of the current fiscal year and over $9.9 billion by the end of FY 2019.
   Jennifer Hedrick, executive director of the National Industrial Transportation League, the nation’s largest shipper group, said passage shows “strong commitment to our nation’s ports and waterways. We encourage the Senate to take up WRDA quickly. Continued investment in our harbor and inland waterway infrastructure ensures the efficient movement of freight and supports a growing economy, both locally and nationally.”

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WRDA sails through House

Congressional Ports Caucus disappointed harbor maintenance language removed from bill.

Jun 07, 2018 on Dec 27, 2018AmericanShipper.com

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WRDA sails through House

Congressional Ports Caucus disappointed harbor maintenance language removed from bill.

Jun 07, 2018 on Dec 27, 2018AmericanShipper.com