In a May 23 guest editorial on Politico.com, titled How to Fix American Transportation, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) called on his Congressional colleagues to "...act now to craft legislation that can help create long-term jobs, reduce the massive federal bureaucracy, streamline project delivery and provide flexibility to states so they can address their infrastructure needs."
He specifically addressed the federal harbor maintenance tax issue by stating "...despite growing maritime infrastructure needs, these funds are not being used for their intended purpose of maintaining our ports."
Chairman Mica's vision for reauthorizing the nation's surface transportation legislation goes beyond the traditional "highway bill" approach and is expected to address road, rail, transit and maritime for a comprehensive solution to many of the transportation problems the nation faces. The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has urged the committee to include a maritime title in the transportation bill to address the harbor maintenance tax problem and navigation project development inefficiencies.
In meetings this year with Chairman Mica, AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle stressed the need for full use of the tax to meet dredging needs nationwide and called for a solution to ensure that the annual revenue collected would be fully used for maintaining the nation's ports and harbors at their authorized and required navigation depths and widths. Mr. Nagle and Chairman Mica also discussed needed reforms to project delivery and regulatory processes that add needless time and cost to transportation infrastructure development.
AAPA applauds Chairman Mica's vision for comprehensive transportation policy and legislation and believes the time is right to put needed efficiencies in place and protect and fully use harbor maintenance taxes already collected for their intended purpose.
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.