U.S. public ports applauded final passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), S. 2796, conference report by the House of Representatives
on November 3. The President is expected to sign this significant legislation that authorizes deepening and modification of federal navigation projects at our nation's ports. Improving navigation infrastructure generates
significant economic returns at the local, regional and national levels.
"Ports are very pleased that Congress
has enacted this critical piece of legislation. Improved, deeper navigation channels translates into greater employment and other economic benefits," said AAPA President Kurt Nagle
. "Regular passage of WRDA legislation is integral to the nation's competitiveness in international markets. and we are pleased that Congress is back on schedule in approving legislation every other year." Major port projects in WRDA 2000 include deepening the ports of New York
and Los Angeles and modification to projects in several other ports. A strong Federal investment in the nation's ports allows for increased international trade, a strengthening of local and national economies, an increase in higher paying jobs, as well as an improved standard of living. The amount of cargo moving through U.S. ports is expected to double in the next two decades. For this reason, the nation must have modern infrastructure to support this growth in trade. As the link to the international marketplace, ports and navigation channels must continue to be updated and modernized to remain competitive. Therefore, it is vital that Congress and the Administration work closely with the port industry to meet the needs of this growing economy. Since WRDA '86, the Federal investment in improvements to the nation's navigation infrastructure is matched by a local share that varies depending on the depth of the project. In addition to investments in navigation infrastructure, ports have invested billions of dollars of additional local funding for landside terminal facilities. Ports depend on the Federal government
to deliver on its side of the partnership; regular, predictable authorization for navigation improvements is a necessity.