The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) supports a number of the provisions included in legislation marked up today by the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. S.1813—Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century or MAP-21— would fund highway programs at $85.3 billion over two years, contains no project earmarks, adds mechanisms for performance measurements, accelerates project delivery and streamlines the environmental review process.
The bipartisan bill focuses on many elements included in of AAPA’s Surface Transportation Authorization platform and directly addresses freight policy at the state and federal levels.
MAP-21 would consolidate state apportioned formula funding into six core program areas, one of which is a National Freight Program. The National Freight Program includes a National Freight Strategy with performance targets for states and includes the ability for states to obligate up to 10 percent of their freight apportionment to maritime and rail projects.
“This bill directly addresses freight intermodal connectors, railway and highway grade separations, geometric improvements to interchanges and ramps, and other infrastructure aspects important to seaport connectivity,” said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle. “AAPA and our partners have worked tirelessly to prioritize freight in the next transportation reauthorization bill.”
In highlighting the various freight aspects in MAP-21, Mr. Nagle also applauded the bill’s co-sponsors: EPW Committee Chairman Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA); EPW Committee Ranking Member Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK); Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT); and T&I Subcommittee Ranking Member Sen. David Vitter (R-LA). “I commend these four senators for working together in the national interest to craft legislation that would raise the priority for goods movement,” he said. “Improving America’s freight transportation system, which includes seaports, will create jobs, reduce traffic congestion, reduce pollution and deliver prosperity through more competitive, lower-cost trade.”
The summary and the full text of MAP-21 is available through the Senate EPW web site.
Founded in 1912, AAPA today represents 160 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 300 sustaining and associate members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports. As a critical link for access to the global marketplace, each year, Western Hemisphere seaports generate trillions of dollars of economic activity, support the employment of millions of people and, in 2008, imported and exported more than 7.8 billion tons of cargo, valued at $8.6 trillion, including food, clothing, medicine, fuel and building materials, as well as consumer electronics and toys. The volume of cargo shipped by water is expected to dramatically increase by 2020 and the number of passengers traveling through our seaports will continue to grow. To meet these demands, the AAPA and its members are committed to keeping seaports navigable, secure and sustainable.