2016 Port Person of The Year Award Recipients Announced

Alexander and Simpson
Senator Lamar Alexander (left) and Representative Mike Simpson (right).

By MarEx 2016-03-29 17:03:38

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID) have been jointly selected to receive the American Association of Port Authorities’ (AAPA) 2016 “Port Person of the Year” award.

Marking its 104th year as the recognized voice of seaports throughout the Americas, AAPA selected Alexander and Simpson for the association’s most prestigious annual award due to their leadership in providing targeted funding levels to implement the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014. Alexander and Simpson each chair their respective chamber’s Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

The Harbor Maintenance Tax was established in WRDA 1986 to fund 100 percent of Federal coastal navigation channel operations and maintenance, however funds are not dedicated to that use. In recent years appropriations were about 50 percent of HMT revenues, resulting in navigation channels depth and width restrictions that threaten safe and efficient freight movement. 

WRRDA 2014 made significant improvements in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ study, construction and funding processes. It established annual incremental increases in the percentages of Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) revenues spent, leading to full use of HMT revenues in fiscal year 2025, and included provisions to address donor equity. After enactment of WRRDA 2014, AAPA initiated its Hit the HMT Target! campaign with other navigation stakeholders to advocate for the targeted funding levels and urge Congress to meet the dredging funding commitments made in the WRRDA 2014. 

“Sen. Alexander and Rep. Simpson not only supported WRRDA 2014, but as a result of their effective leadership, the fiscal 2016 Energy and Water Development appropriation surpassed the HMT target, provided a significant increase in funding for coastal navigation construction and, for the first time, $25 million for donor and energy transfer ports,” said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle.

“AAPA appreciates the dedication that Sen. Alexander and Rep. Simpson have shown to improving U.S. water resources and infrastructure and the critical role they played to ensure that, in fiscal year 2016, Congress met the funding commitments contained in WRRDA 2014,” said Nagle.  “We look forward to working with these two influential legislators in future years on funding that continues to hit the HMT target funding level and also provides more equity for donors.”

Each year, AAPA presents its Port Person of the Year award to an individual or individuals who have made significant contributions to the port industry.  Recent award recipients include: 

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Lic. Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa, General Coordinator of Mexican Ports and Merchant Marine – 2015; 

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Cong. Bill Shuster (R-PA) – 2014; 

Cong. Janice Hahn (D-CA) and Cong. Ted Poe (R-TX) – 2013; 

Cong. John Mica (R-FL) – 2012; 

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) – 2011; 

Adm. Thad W. Allen, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard and The Honourable David L. Emerson, P.C., former Minister of Industry, International Trade and Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada – 2010; 

Cong. Jane Harman (D-CA) – 2009; 

U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) –  2008; 

Panamanian President Martin Torrijos  – 2007; 

U.S. Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-ME) – 2006; and 

U.S. Transporta­tion Secretary Norman Mineta – 2005.

The joint 2016 “Port Person of the Year” awards will be presented separately; first to Alexander on April 7 as U.S. port leaders visit Capitol Hill as part of AAPA’s 2016 Spring Conference event; and next to Simpson after the House of Representatives is back in session after the Easter recess.