Investing in America: Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act
On April 30, 2019, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO), Chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Subcommittee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-AR), and Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA) introduced H.R. 2440, the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act, which would unlock billions in already collected fees to maintain our nation’s Federal ports and harbors.
Currently, the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (Trust Fund) collects more revenue from shippers than Congress has appropriated to the U.S. Army Corps (Corps) of Engineers to maintain our harbors. Approximately $9.3 billion in already collected revenue sits idle in the U.S. Treasury, not being used for its intended purpose of investing in our Nation’s ports and harbors. At the same time, some ports and harbors of all sizes struggle to remain competitive in the global shipment of goods and services or remain open to meet the needs of the communities that depend on a vibrant maritime and commercial fishing industry. While shippers continue to pay into the Trust Fund for Congressionally approved maintenance activities, the Federal Government has not carried out many of them.
This bipartisan bill makes it easier for Congress to appropriate any funds collected in the Trust Fund for authorized harbor maintenance needs, including the existing $9.3 billion balance in the Trust Fund. The legislation enables the expenditure of approximately $34 billion over the next decade, which will allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to dredge all Federal harbors to their constructed widths and depths.
Click here to hear directly from an Oregon fisherman on why this bipartisan legislation is critical.