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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Harbor Maintenance News

Ports – US Harbor Maintenance Funding

Unlike the past several years, this year's budget debate included some discussion of the longstanding problem of underfunded harbor maintenance. This recognition of the harbor maintenance issue by the House Budget Committee is a positive small step forward. The text of H. Con. Res. 112 does not include any specific language related to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF). The Budget Committee report on this legislation includes the following:  "In addition, the budget acknowledges the importance of maintaining our ports and waterways to encourage commercial deep-draft navigation and economic competitiveness. In fiscal year 2012…

Ohio Senator Co-sponsors Harbor Maintenance Act

U.S. Senator Rob Portman supports legislation to help ensure funds for harbor maintenance etc. are used as intended. The Senator co-sponsored the Harbor Maintenance Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Carl Levin (D-MI) to help ensure that funds collected for maintaining and operating federal ports, harbors, and channels are fully used for their intended purposes. “Ohio’s many ports and harbors, including those in Cleveland, Toledo, and across the Great Lakes, are critical to ensuring robust commerce,” said Portman. “We commend Senator Portman and his co-sponsors, and urge their colleagues to support this bill to help continue our nation’s economic recovery,” said William D. Friedman, President and CEO of the Port of Cleveland.

Bill introduced re harbor maintenance tax exemption

Representative Weldon (R-FL) introduced the Short Sea Shipping Tax Exemption Act of 2005 (H.R. 3319) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide an exemption from the harbor maintenance tax for certain shipping between United States mainland ports. If enacted into law, this bill would exempt certain U.S short-sea shipping (basically that involving containerized and ro-ro cargo) from the harbor maintenance tax. (HK Law)

Legislators Urge Trump to Fund Dredging

© alexmma1 / Adobe Stock

A coalition of 75 members of the House of Representatives called on President Trump to fully fund harbor maintenance programs in his upcoming Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal. The letter, available here, noted that the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA) called for FY18 harbor maintenance expenditures to equal 74 percent of FY17 Harbor Maintenance Tax revenue. Although the specific amount is not yet known (the budget typically includes an estimate of previous year revenue), legislators urged the President to include the appropriate amount in his budget. “The U.S.

USACE – FY09 Budget for Civil Works

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) summarized its budget request for fiscal year 2009 for civil works. It includes $2.638 billion for operation and maintenance. This is the account from which harbor maintenance and dredging funds are derived. The Civil Works budget consists, in part, of $729 million from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and $167 million from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. Source: HK Law

Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Hearing Requested

US Congressional Ports caucus leaders request the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee to hold a hearing on the Fund. Congresswoman Janice Hahn (CA-44) and Congressman Ted Poe (TX-2) have addressed the following letter to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman, The Honorable Bill Shuster, and Ranking Member, The Honorable Nick J. "As co-founders and co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional PORTS Caucus, the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) is a top area of interest for us. As such, we are writing to request that the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hold a hearing on the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund as the first step towards improving our utilization of those funds.

Harbor Maintenance Legislation Supported by TTD President

“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.

Flaws Hinder US Harbor Maintenance Fund -Report

Photo: Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure

There exist serious flaws in U.S. infrastructure funding practices that hinder the maintenance and improvement of American ports and harbors, according to a new report, “Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund: Broken or Misused?” released by the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii). “Insufficient funding is a constant issue for large-scale infrastructure projects, but the shortfall in harbor funding is particularly problematic since waterborne cargo shippers pay an excise tax specifically aimed at solving this problem…

Harbor Maintenance Tax Allocation Bills Introduced

Senator Kerry (D-MA) and Representative Capuano (D-MA) introduced companion bills (S. 1310

Refunds of Harbor Maintenance Fees

The U.S. Customs Service issued a final rule establishing procedures for requesting refunds of export harbor maintenance fees. The procedure, which largely adopts the previous interim system, is intended to simplify the refund process by relieving exporters from certain documentary requirements and providing a 120-day period to allow exporters to seek additional refunds. The final rule comes into effect immediately. Source: HK Law

U.S. House Subcommittee Recommends $1 Billion for 2013 Dredging

Kurt Nagle (Photo: AAPA).

The U.S. House Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), today approved its fiscal 2013 funding bill for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including a $1 billion draw from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for maintaining America’s deep-draft navigation channels and harbors. This would be the largest regular annual appropriation for navigation maintenance. “While still less than the need for full use of the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT)…

HMT Trust Fund Coalition, 2011 Budget

The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Fairness Coalition expressed disappointment in President Obama's budget proposal for the 2011 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Civil Works Program. The Coalition said the proposed budget of $4.887b continues to inadequately invest in our nation's water resources infrastructure, and it reflects an additional $565m cut below what was enacted by Congress for the Corps in Fiscal Year 2010. "The proposed cuts in investment for this nation's coastal navigation needs are critically restrained and will result in serious reductions in channel dimensions," declared Barry Holliday, Chairman of the HMTF Fairness Coalition.

FY 01 Civil Works Budget Proposes $4.06B Program

President Clinton's budget transmitted to Congress includes $4.06 billion for the USACE Civil Works program. In addition, the program will include $322 million in non-federal contributions and trust fund receipts. Funding in this request will be used to continue the development of the nation's water resources, the efficient operations, maintenance and management of the nation's navigation, flood damage reduction, and multiple-purpose projects, the equitable regulation of wetlands, and the restoration of important environmental resources such as the South Florida Ecosystem. The budget also begins to address some of the Corp's long-term water resources infrastructure main-tenance requirements.

National Freight Advisory Approves Harbor Maintenance Tax

The National Freight Advisory Committee yesterday unanimously approved a recommendation to pass legislation that will ensure that the Harbor Maintenance Tax is utilized for its intended purpose - to keep the nation's harbors and channels dredged and maintained at their maximum authorized depth for the safe shipping of commerce. The resolution was championed by Paul C. LaMarre III, Executive Director of the Port of Monroe, Michigan. The Harbor Maintenance Tax is a user fee collected by the U.S. Government to ensure the adequate maintenance and operations of the national waterway infrastructure. In recent years, more fees have been collected than expended and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund contains a surplus of $8.2 billion.

Senators Murray, Cantwell Introduce American Port Legislation

Senator Patty Murray (WA)

U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell introduced today The Maritime Goods Movement Act for the 21st Century, new legislation that would support the American trade economy and significantly strengthen American ports. The legislation would replace the outdated Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT), which is designed to fund the operation and maintenance of American ports, but currently incentivizes shippers to bypass American ports and move U.S. bound goods through Canada and Mexico instead.

AAPA U.S. Delegation Chair Testifies on WRDA

Testifying for the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee in a hearing titled “Foundations for a New Water Resources Development Act,”  Duluth Seaway Port Authority Executive Director and AAPA U.S. Delegation Chairman Adolph Ojard laid out three key areas that AAPA believes should be addressed in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) legislation currently being considered by Congress that would result in real benefits to the nation. First is bill language that would ensure federal Harbor Maintenance Tax revenues are fully used each year. Second is to make the U.S.

Senators Murray, Cantwell Secure Wins for Ports of Seattle, Tacoma

U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell

U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) yesterday announced that a critical provision they authored to reform the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) and significantly benefit the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma was included in the bipartisan, bicameral deal on the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) released in the afternoon. As “donor ports,” the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma currently receive just pennies for each dollar they contribute to the HMTF through collected shipping taxes, while other ports around the country disproportionately receive millions more.

Moving Ahead With the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund

“How can we have a 21st century economy with a 20th century infrastructure?” Vice President Joe Biden recently posed this question to an audience at the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) annual meeting in Houston, Texas. He went on to say, “the greatest economic power in the world needs the most dynamic port system in the world.” I happen to agree with this statement. We must find a better way to manage the funding needs of our marine transportation infrastructure. In fact, you will find many politicians, business leaders, economists, and transportation specialists that are quite outspoken on this matter. It seems everybody talks infrastructure, and how deteriorated our roads, rails, highways, bridges, and ports have become.

AAPA Lauds Committment to Fix HMT Inequity

Chairman Mica's vision for reauthorizing the nation's surface transportation legislation goes beyond the traditional "highway bill" approach and is expected to address road, rail, transit and maritime for a comprehensive solution to many of the transportation problems the nation faces. The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has urged the committee to include a maritime title in the transportation bill to address the harbor maintenance tax problem and navigation project development inefficiencies.

Civil Works Budget Proposes $4.06 Billion Program

President Clinton's budget transmitted to Congress includes $4.06 billion for the USACE Civil Works program. In addition the program will include $322 million in non-federal contributions and trust fund receipts. Funding in this request will be used to continue the development of the nation's water resources, the efficient operations, maintenance and management of the nation's navigation, flood damage reduction, and multiple-purpose projects, the equitable regulation of wetlands, and the restoration of important environmental resources such as the South Florida Ecosystem. The budget also begins to address some of the Corps long-term water resources infrastructure main-tenance requirements.

Levin, Stabenow Bill to Improve Harbors, Ports

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., introduced legislation that would ensure funding for federal ports and harbors across the nation. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is an original co-sponsor of the bill. If enacted, the bill would help ensure that all revenue collected by the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) would be used for its intended purpose: to properly maintain and operate harbors and ports. The bill has broad bipartisan and multi-regional support, with four Democrats and four Republicans sponsoring the legislation at the time of its introduction. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, is the lead Republican co-sponsor of the bill.

Murray, Cantwell to Unveil American Ports Legilation

On Thursday, August 15th, at 10:00 AM, U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani, and Port of Tacoma CEO John Wolfe will hold a press conference at the Bell Harbor Conference Center rooftop deck overlooking the Port of Seattle to announce new legislation that will support Washington state’s trade economy and significantly strengthen American ports, including many in the Pacific Northwest. Outdated harbor maintenance taxes divert many American-bound cargos to ports in Canada. The Senate bill is expected to level the playing field for American ports competing for cargo while boosting investments in port infrastructure and maintenance.  

House Adopts Amendment Addressing Great Lakes Dredging Crisis

Toledo, Ohio – The end of the Great Lakes dredging crisis came a step closer to reality yesterday when the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4348 and included a provision which could lead to substantially increased funding for Great Lakes dredging. The amendment directs that all funding collected in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be spent on dredging each year. Currently, the Fund has a $7 billion surplus. More than 16 million cubic yards of sediment clog Great Lakes ports and waterways because funding for dredging has been inadequate for decades. “Passage of H.R. 4348 with the Boustany amendment represents further progress in requiring that the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund monies all be spent on dredging each year…

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Dec 2017 - The Great Ships of 2017

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