Ports offer Congress funding compromise

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, Editor, Railway Track & Structures; and Engineering Editor, Railway Age
Capitol House of Representatives

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) sent a letter to congressional appropriation leaders asking them to “provide adequate resources for three key federal programs that help fund multimodal port-related infrastructure in the United States.”

The letter is in anticipation of the leadership of both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees’ Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) working toward a final version of a transportation appropriation bill.

The letter makes the following recommendations regarding the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program, the Marine Highway Program and the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program:

  • AAPA is advocating that the fiscal 2019 BUILD program adopt the Senate funding level of $1 billion, or if possible, the fiscal 2018 level of $1.5 billion. AAPA says its members have identified $32 billion in needed federal investments in port landside connections and facility infrastructure.
  • AAPA supports the $7 million of funding for the Marine Highway Program in the Senate bill because the program provides U.S. ports and communities an option for using ocean and inland waterways to reduce highway congestion.
  • AAPA recommends the House funding level of $300 million for CRISI grants because of the port rail access eligibilities the program provides and the opportunities it offers for strong rail and port partnerships.

“We thank both the Senate and the House THUD appropriations subcommittees for their leadership on multimodal infrastructure funding issues,” said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle. “We look forward to working with them and their Appropriations Committee colleagues on maintaining the 33 percent funding level for ports and setting a funding level of at least $1 billion in the final FY19 appropriations bill so that ports and their industry partners can adequately address these important infrastructure and supply chain issues.”

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