Seaports: U.S. ocean cargo gateways must be upgraded
July 17, 2011 - LM Editorial
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) recently commended the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its chairman, Cong. John Mica (R-Fla.), for rolling out a comprehensive, multi-year transportation reauthoriztion proposal that is focused on improving our nation’s transportation infrastructure and, for the first time, includes a maritime title.
“We strongly support the legislation’s goal of streamlining the project planning and delivery process for both surface transportation and navigation projects, as the current systems unnecessarily take too long, increase costs, and delay project benefits,” said Kurt Nagle, AAPA president and CEO.
“We also applaud Chairman Mica and his committee for including a title specifically addressing maritime and port related transportation infrastructure in this legislation, a major step that recognizes that America’s ports, and the connections to them on the land and waterside, are critical links in our nation’s overall transportation system. Investments in America’s port infrastructure and intermodal connections – both land and waterside – are strongly in the federal interest and provide an opportunity to bolster the country’s economic and employment recovery and our long term prosperity.” Nagle added.
The proposed maritime title contains several policy provisions supported by AAPA, including: a provision to promote full use of the Harbor Maintenance Tax for its intended purpose of maintaining federal navigation channels; provisions to encourage greater utilization of our marine highways to help address highway congestion; and, provisions to improve the project planning and delivery process.
Overall, the legislation seeks to narrow the focus of programs and policies to those most in the federal interest. AAPA looks forward to reviewing the details of the draft legislation and hopes that, as it continues to advance, provisions focused on freight transportation mobility will be key components of a final bill.
“Improving the freight transportation system, including port related infrastructure and the connections into and out of ports, helps strengthen our nation’s international competitiveness and our ability to accommodate trade growth,” said Nagle. “As Congress looks to address priorities that are in the greatest federal interest and that provide America with the most sizable returns, we believe that a higher prioritization for investments in the freight transportation system will pay huge dividends toward improving economic prosperity.”
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