Will Obama get this message on President’s Day?

The President’s proposed fiscal 2017 budget fails to hit the HMT target, it also fails to continue funding the HMT donor equity provisions that Congress initiated last year. AAPA strongly supports those provisions.

By ·

When Congress passed the overwhelmingly-supported and bipartisan Water Resources and Reform Development Act (WRRDA) in 2014, it established annual incremental increases for Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) funded work.

That would lead to full use of revenues in fiscal 2025, as highlighted in “Hit the HMT Target” campaign launched by the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA).

Not only does the President’s proposed fiscal 2017 budget fail to hit the HMT target, it also fails to continue funding the HMT donor equity provisions that Congress initiated last year. AAPA strongly supports those provisions.

“It’d be a grievous ‘miss’ if this budget is adopted,” Says Kurt Nagle, AAPA’s president and CEO.  “By underfunding needed waterside investments, it breaks a vital link in the supply chain that disadvantages the entire freight-handling system, waterside and landside.”

The $951 million requested by the President for maintaining America’s deep-draft harbors is 22 percent less than the $1.22 billion appropriated by Congress for fiscal 2016.  Furthermore, the budget request for the Corps’ coastal navigation construction program appears to be significantly less than the congressionally-approved fiscal 2016 budget.

Specifically, the proposed budget calls for:

  • Expanding the multi-modal TIGER program to $1.25 billion annually, an increase from the fiscal 2016 level of $500 million.

  • Providing $850 million for Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects, a new discretionary grant program established by the FAST Act for major highway and freight projects that will achieve national transportation objectives.

  • Providing $1.1 billion for the National Highway Freight Program, established by the FAST Act, which will provide states with necessary funds for vital projects that will improve the movement of freight on the National Highway Freight Network.

  • Allowing $275 million to provide credit assistance for nationally or regionally significant transportation projects through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program. This program leverages private sector investments in public infrastructure projects, including those at seaports.

  • Funding $10 million for the EPA’s DERA grants program, which represents an 80 percent drop from the current $50 million funding level. Ports use these grants in a variety of ways, including the Clean Truck programs, retrofitting or replacing yard equipment, installing shore power for vessels at docks, and retrofitting dredges and tugs.

  • Funding port security grants, that are part of FEMA’s National Preparedness Grant Program, at $93 million…a 7 percent decrease from the fiscal 2016 level of $100 million. Unlike previous years’ budgets when the request called for moving this and other FEMA grant programs to the states, today’s request is in line with AAPA’s recommendation, calling for port security grants to continue being managed at the federal level.

“While AAPA believes the Administration’s budget would lead to improved freight movement over our surface transportation system, all would be for naught if the budget’s proposed cuts to waterside infrastructure programs were adopted,” says Nagle. “If we can’t get the goods efficiently and competitively into and out of our country through seaports and waterside navigation channels, American manufacturers won’t be able to receive the materials and/or components they need, and they as well as U.S. farmers, won’t be able to competitively export their products globally.  In addition, U.S. retailers and consumers will suffer.”

Nagle further notes that AAPA is also puzzled by the 80 percent decrease in DERA grant funds despite the President’s call in a Feb. 4 press release to devote those funds to improve air quality as part of his climate change initiative.

“As the Administration and Congress grapple with the multiple goals of reducing the nation’s debt while growing jobs and the economy, federal investments in ports and their connecting waterside and landside infrastructure continue to be an essential, effective utilization of limited resources, paying dividends through increased trade, jobs, enhanced international competitiveness, and over $320 billion a year in tax revenues,” Nagle says.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

AAPA · Infrastructure · Obama · Ports · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
The View from the New “Single Window”
The single window, officially known as the "International Trade Data System," operates via the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency's Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) platform, and serves as a single point of contact for all trade filings.
Download Today!
From the March 2017 Issue
WMS vendors are stepping up to the plate and developing functionalities and solutions that meet the complex needs of today’s companies. Our top analysts take a peek into these developments and discuss the DC of the future and the software that will support it.
5 Supply Chain Trends Happening Now
2017 Warehouse/DC Equipment Survey: Investment up as service pressures rise
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2017 Trucking Regulations & Infrastructure Update
In this session our panel brings shippers up to date on the state of transportation regulations. Discussion will revolve around regulatory reform, aspects of the federal highway bill and what the transportation landscape looks like in the early days of the Trump administration.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...
ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...

2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...
Logistics Management’s Top Logistics News Stories 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to regulation changes, Logistics Management has compiled the most...