The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) says it is encouraged by the release of the infrastructure investment outline by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Democrats, especially the recognition that ports and waterways play a vital role in the nation's economy, jobs and supply chain.
Schumer unveiled a proposal to spend $1 trillion over the next 10 years to repair old bridges and roads, expand bus and rail systems, modernize ports, highways, airports, schools and more. The proposal includes $70 billion to modernize America’s ports, airports and waterways.
“During his campaign, President Trump talked often about a big and bold infrastructure package,” Schumer said. “Well, this is one of the most comprehensive overhaul proposals in a generation, and we’re challenging President Trump to work with us on this broad plan that will sustain our positive economic growth, create millions of jobs and build a modern economy.”
“Coupled with President Trump’s stated intention to make major improvements in America’s infrastructure, we’re optimistic that long overdue infrastructure investments will be made,” said Kurt Nagle, AAPA’s president and CEO on Thursday.
America’s seaports are international trading hubs that are vital economic engines to their community, their region and the nation, says AAPA. Seaport cargo activity accounts for 26 percent of the U.S. economy, generating nearly $4.6 trillion a year in total economic activity, supporting some 23 million American jobs and producing more than $321 billion federal, state and local tax revenues annually.
AAPA has sent its freight transportation infrastructure policy and funding recommendations to the Trump Administration and Congressional leadership. Among its recommendations are ways to eliminate bottlenecks and expand capacity through landside investments, modernize and fully maintain federal navigation channels through waterside investments, secure America’s ports and borders, enhance the coastal environment and build resilience.
“AAPA looks forward to working with Congress and the Trump Administration as they develop a comprehensive infrastructure package that will meet the needs of our country, our growing freight network, and enhance our international competitiveness,” said Nagle.
AAPA’s Key Actions for 2017 and Beyond:
Eliminate Bottlenecks and Expand Capacity Through Landside Investments
Multimodal freight movement investments must be a key priority to improve landside connections to seaports and enhance our global competitiveness. Increase investments in Department of Transportation programs that target seaport infrastructure, including TIGER, FAST Act freight programs, the StrongPorts and Marine Highway Programs.
Modernize and Fully Maintain Federal Navigation Channels Through Waterside Investments
Key programs are the Corps of Engineers Coastal Navigation program that manages the maintenance and modernization of federal navigation channels – our water highways to the world market. The NOAA’s navigation charts and real time data that ensure safe vessel passage are also underfunded.
Secure America’s Ports and Borders
Safe, secure and efficient movement of freight through seaports is fundamental to the twin goals of protecting our borders and moving goods efficiently. Adequate staffing and resources for Customs and Border Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard are critical, as is making port authority projects a high priority for FEMA’s Port Security grants.
Enhance the Environment and Build Resilience
Federal investments help ports reduce the environmental impacts of freight transportation, including those to nearby communities. These investments can help make ports resilient to natural disasters and other potential hazards to avoid a long-term disruption of our nation’s freight transportation system.