U.S. port authorities urge more funding for port infrastructure program

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) says it is very concerned with the U.S. Senate’s approval of a fiscal 2020 appropriations bill that cuts funding by more than two-thirds to a U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD) program that provides critical grants for port infrastructure projects nationwide.

MARAD’s Port Infrastructure Development Program, initiated last year and funded at $292.73 million, would be slashed to $91.6 million if the Senate’s appropriation mark is upheld in the final bill. Not only would funding for the program be severely cut, the Senate bill requires deep-draft coastal ports and shallow-draft inland waterways ports share those funds, which wasn’t the case last year. AAPA advocates that the program be funded at a minimum of $300 million for deep-draft coastal ports.

AAPA will fight hard to achieve a higher funding level for the program in the final Congressional negotiations for the bill. The House approved $225 million for the program in FY 2020.

“It’s critical that the U.S. invest in its port infrastructure to address growing trade, which is the lifeblood of our economy” remarked Chris Connor, AAPA’s president and CEO. “MARAD’s Port Infrastructure Development Program is the first and only federal grant program dedicated to our nation’s ports, and direct investment into port-related infrastructure is a top AAPA priority.”

Source: AAPA

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