As businesses and global markets slowly pull out of the economic quagmire, gateways to domestic and international trade remain under threat because of insufficient funding levels that support infrastructure within federally authorized seaports and harbors.
Maintenance dredging of channels and harbors should be fully supported from assessments against the value of imports and domestic cargo arriving at U.S. ports. The nation’s harbors and channels are getting shallower and narrower, which threaten not only U.S. competitiveness in global trade, but also imposes increased transportation expense on U.S. manufacturing and retail sectors.
Those costs could be better directed toward jobs creation and innovation. Other casualties of poorly maintained infrastructure are risks associated with vessel groundings, collisions and pollution incidents. With the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund balance at approximately $6.1 billion, this funding source should be fully utilized to clear the backlog of authorized maintenance dredging needed to sustain our vital infrastructure.
U.S. and global economic prosperity are vitally dependent upon the administration and Congress meeting these federal obligations.