AAPA: Mixed Reaction on Proposed 2013 Budget

(Press Release)
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

With the release of President Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) expressed both accolades, and some disappointment, over various aspects of the budget pertaining to ports and the efficient and secure movement of freight.

Kurt Nagle, AAPA’s president and CEO, said that, even though the Administration’s budget includes cuts in order to meet the Budget Control Act passed by Congress last year, there are bright spots for seaports, such as a much-needed increase in the portion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ funding pertaining to deep-draft navigation maintenance, and funding for the Department of Transportation’s budget that pertains to enhancing America’s freight mobility.
The president’s 2013 budget proposal includes a request for reimbursement from the federal Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) of $848 million. This represents a nearly 12 percent increase ($90 million) over the fiscal 2012 request of $758 million and would be $28 million more than the $830 million Congress appropriated for maintenance dredging in fiscal 2012.  While still not close to the $1.4 billion collected annually from importers and domestic shippers for deep-draft navigation maintenance dredging, the Administration’s fiscal 2013 request is a significant increase from prior years.
“The president’s proposed Civil Works program increase for navigation is the highest budget request ever, and is a very positive step toward AAPA’s long-stated goal of full utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Tax for its intended purpose,” said Mr. Nagle. “Maintaining our federal navigation channels to their authorized and required dimensions will also help make U.S. exports more internationally competitive and is critical for safe access in and out of America's seaports,” he said.
Since the Harbor Maintenance Tax’s inception in 1986, AAPA has advocated for full use of its collections for their intended purpose of dredging America’s deep-draft navigation channels to their authorized and required depths and widths.  Mr. Nagle added that, currently, importers and domestic shippers pay approximately double the annual amount that is drawn from the HMTF for maintenance dredging, leaving a surplus that exceeds $6.3 billion today.  Because this surplus has been used for other programs, there are serious dredging needs that have gone unheeded.
Another area of the proposed budget important to America’s freight competitiveness falls under the Department of Transportation, which contains a robust, six-year transportation authorization proposal funded at $476 billion.  Additionally, the budget request funds immediate transportation investments in fiscal 2012 totaling $50 billion.  These investments include $26 billion for the National Highway Program and $4 billion for the National Infrastructure Investments (NII) program—formerly TIGER—which in the past three years has funded more than a quarter-billion dollars in seaport-related infrastructure.  All of these elements would have strong and positive effect on freight system improvement.
The proposal also authorizes the NII program at $3.4 billion cumulatively through 2018 as part of the Administration’s six-year authorization proposal. AAPA has long advocated for authorizing a TIGER-style program and dedicating at least 25 percent of the grants to port-related infrastructure. 
With regard to seaport security, Mr. Nagle said that the AAPA is both supportive and appreciative of the portion of the administration’s proposed budget that calls for $2.9 billion—more than double last year’s funding level—for FEMA State and Local Programs, which houses the Port Security Grant Program. The budget request, however, also bundles all funds into one pot and gives the Homeland Security secretary the authority to determine funding levels.
The association has opposed similar proposals in the past because first responder programs are substantially different than port security programs and because states may not adequately allocate funds for port security if the programs are combined at the state level.
AAPA continues to advocate for a separate port security funding program at a $400 million annual level to aid ports in beefing up their security infrastructure, technology and personnel programs, and to ensure that terrorist threats don’t become terrorist realities.
Maritime Reporter March 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Ports

Canaveral Tops State List for Sand Bypass Funding

The Canaveral Harbor Inlet Sand Bypass Project has earned the top state ranking for 2014/15 inlet management funding. As a result, Port Canaveral is expected to receive $100,

Rotterdam port's throughput almost stable

The Port of Rotterdam’s throughput in the first quarter of 2014, at 109 million tonnes, was 0.2% below the level for the corresponding period last year.Split up by goods type,

CMA CGM Strengthens Madagascar Presence

Since the creation of CMA CGM Madagascar in 2003, container shipping company CMA CGM Group has continued to develop on the island to move closer to its valued customers

Finance

India's Reliance Q4 Sales Rise

Indian energy company Reliance Industries Ltd posted nearly flat fourth-quarter profits, in line with estimates, as a slimmer margin in its oilrefining business offset higher revenue.

Schlumberger Announces Q1 Results

Schlumberger Limited (NYSE:SLB) today reported first-quarter 2014 revenue from continuing operations of $11.24 billion versus $11.91 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, and $10.

New sanctions threats as Ukraine stalemate goes on

A day after an international deal in Geneva to defuse the East-West crisis in Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists vowed not to end their occupation of public buildings

Government Update

Reports: Brazilian Tycoon Batista Investigated For Financial Crimes

Brazils federal police have opened an investigation into former billionaire Eike Batista for financial crimes, including insider trading, manipulation of markets and money laundering,

Shell Commited To Russia Expansion Despite Sanctions

Royal Dutch Shell is committed to expansion in Russia, Chief Executive Ben van Beurden told Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting on Friday amid sanctions

Obama Offers US Aid to S.Korea Following Ferry Accident

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday expressed condolences to the families of the victims of the South Korean ferry sinking and said the U.S. military will provide

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1094 sec (9 req/sec)