Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) President Edward Wytkind issues this statement in support of H.R.3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (WRRDA):
“The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today will consider a critical, bipartisan water infrastructure bill that will boost American competitiveness and create middle-class jobs. The legislation contains needed and long overdue reforms to harbor maintenance funding that will result in a substantial increase in investments in our nation’s ports and harbors. If approved by the Committee, it will then be up to the House leadership to bring this jobs creating bill to the floor for a vote and closer to final legislation that meet’s the nation’s needs.
“Passage of this bill cannot come soon enough as our nation faces a $2.2 billion backlog in harbor maintenance projects that hampers international commerce and stifles job creation. This backlog is a result of a flawed system where barely half of the funds collected by the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) have been used for their intended purpose: harbor maintenance. H.R.3080 will steadily increase the amount of money spent from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for this purpose until it reaches 80 percent in 2020. The result will be much needed investment in a maritime industry that supports 500,000 jobs, plays a critical role in expanding U.S. exports and is the gateway to international trade and humanitarian aid. These investments will have the added benefit of creating thousands of good paying construction jobs, addressing a serious unemployment problem in that industry.
“Transportation labor thanks committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-WV), as well as Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Chairman Robert Gibbs (R-Ohio) and Ranking Member Timothy Bishop (D-NY) for their leadership in moving this bill forward. We urge members to report H.R.3080 from committee and pass it on the House floor. American competitiveness and American jobs cannot wait.”