In February, shippers staged a “fly-in” on Capitol Hill to “stand up for trucking.” Today, a the domestic maritime industry holds “sail-in” to promote U.S. shipping.
The annual domestic maritime lobbying blitz comes as House and Senate conferees meet to hammer out a long-delayed transportation infrastructure spending bill.
U.S. ports are also pushing for more money for dredging. Under the latest House water appropriations bill, ports would get $1 billion for dredging in 2013.
About 155 industry representatives will hold more than 170 meetings with members of Congress and their staff, the American Maritime Partnership said.
“The Sail-In is the one time of the year that nearly every segment of the maritime industry comes together to brief Congress on how we make the U.S. stronger and safer,” said James Henry, chairman of the American Maritime Partnership.
Henry cited Navy League and Transportation Institute studies that show the domestic U.S. maritime industry supports nearly 500,000 jobs.
U.S. inland waterways are underfunded and underused, putting the U.S. at an international disadvantage, former Rep. James L. Oberstar said Tuesday.
Speaking at the National Industrial Transportation League’s Freight Policy Forum in Washington, Oberstar slammed Republicans and Democrats alike for inaction.
“For seven years we have not moved a water resources development act, and the railroads are happy about that, but it’s not for the good of the country,” he said.
The last Water Resources Development Act, which authorized projects but did not include funding, was passed in 2007 over a veto by President George W. Bush.