AAPA Hails U.S. House Passage of WRRDA

By George Backwell
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Kurt Nagle: Photo credit AAPA

Citing it as a major victory for ports, the American Association of Port Authorities is hailing passage in the U.S. House today of H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The U.S. Senate will vote on the bill this Thursday, where easy passage is expected.

House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), a major WRRDA champion, cited the bill for cutting red tape, strengthening trade and creating jobs.

AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle said, “We’re extremely pleased that WRRDA passed the House today. The overwhelming 412-4 vote indicates strong bipartisan support and recognition of the critical need to better maintain and improve our seaports to enhance America’s international competitiveness.”

Mr. Nagle further noted that this legislation “is a major victory for ports as it includes numerous AAPA policy priorities, including the need to modernize cost-share requirements and set a path to full use of the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT).”

Another aspect of the bill provides more equity for HMT donor ports. The bill allows for expanded uses when spending increases and authorizes a separate program for HMT donor and energy ports.

Numerous other AAPA policy recommendations are included under the reform title of the bill.  Many of these provisions are intended to streamline project study and delivery processes and allow more flexibility to ports that want to provide funding to advance navigation-related studies and projects.

Mr. Nagle applauded Chairman Shuster and the bipartisan leadership of the T&I Committee.  He went on to thank the hard work by AAPA members over the last few years in getting WRRDA to completion, as well as its numerous partners on passage, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Soybean Association, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, National Governors Association, National League of Cities and various water groups as referenced on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee website.

AAPA has developed the following documents that outline more details on the bill:
    •    WRRDA Conference Report and AAPA Recommendations (http://bit.ly/1sSNVZc)
    •    HMT Summary (http://bit.ly/1h75tLT)

About AAPA
Founded in 1912, AAPA today represents more than 130 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and about 300 sustaining, associate and honorary members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports.

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