ILTA Urges House to Fully Use Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund
October 25, 2019
I am writing on behalf of the Members of the International Liquid Terminals Association (ILTA) to encourage you to vote affirmatively for H.R. 2440, the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) legislation that will be considered by the full House of Representatives under Suspension of the Rules on Monday, October 28. This critical bipartisan legislation has the support of both of Committee on Transportation Chairman Peter DeFazio and Ranking Member Sam Graves, along with Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment Chairwoman Grace Napolitano and Ranking Member Bruce Westerman.
Our ports are critically important to America’s transportation infrastructure system. They facilitate U.S. and international trade and are responsible for $4.6 trillion in annual economic activity – approximately 26 percent of the entire U.S. economy. From an employment perspective, port activity generates over 23 million jobs throughout the nation and sustains well over a million jobs for port-specific employment in the longshore, dredging, construction, storage and transportation industries.
The HMTF is levied on the value of imported goods and was designed to provide all the operations and maintenance costs for deep draft and coastal waterways throughout the United States. Despite huge unmet needs, since 2003, HMTF collections have far exceeded funds appropriated for harbor maintenance, and the surplus of collections over expenditures has grown to more than $9 billion.
Maintaining America’s port facilities is essential to our economy, but maintaining this critical infrastructure comes at a cost. Dredging isn’t free, nor is disposing of dredged materials properly.
It is extremely short-sighted to fail to invest in this important infrastructure, especially when the funds are collected from importers utilizing the facilities. Passage of H.R. 2440 is an important step toward our shared goal of full use of the funds taken into the HMTF each year and, over time, spending down the surplus to address critical needs and providing support for all U.S. ports.
Thank you in advance for your help and support.