This week, the House passed H.R. 2440, the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act, by a vote of 296 – 109. ASCE endorsed H.R. 2440 earlier this year, and this bill was one of our 2019 legislative fly-in priorities. The passage of H.R. 2440 would not have been possible without the incredible advocacy of ASCE’s members. Final ASCE member advocacy efforts included over 160 emails to over 123 congressional offices!
This bipartisan bill provides $34 billion over the next ten years for dredging at our nation’s ports and ensures that all Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) revenues are used only for its intended purpose – dredging. The legislation appropriates the $9.3 billion balance currently sitting in the HMTF and provides for full expenditure of the next decade’s projected $24.5 billion in new HMTF revenue for ports infrastructure investment.
Our nation’s 926 ports support over 23.1 million jobs, provide $321.1 billion in tax revenue to federal, state, and local governments, and are responsible for $4.6 trillion in economic activity, or roughly 26 percent of the nation’s economy – making them essential to U.S. competitiveness. Our ports serve as the gateway through which 99 percent of America’s overseas trade passes. In addition, the top 10 U.S. ports accounted for 78 percent of U.S. foreign waterborne trade in 2015. However, the investment gap for inland waterways systems and ports is expected to be $1.5 billion by 2025.
ASCE thanks the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 2440 – a critical step to helping raise our nation’s “C+” ports infrastructure grade. Thank your Member of Congress for his or her “yes” vote on this bill, and/or urge your Senator to introduce it in the Senate!