ILTA Letter on H.R. 2440 the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act

May 2, 2019 

The Honorable Peter DeFazio 
Chairman 
House Committee on Transportation 
and Infrastructure 
2165 Rayburn HOB 
Washington, DC 20515 

The Honorable Grace Napolitano 
Chairwoman 
Subcommittee on Water Resources 
and the Environment 
H2-585 Ford House Office Building 
Washington, DC 20515 

The Honorable Sam Graves 
Ranking Republican Member 
House Committee on Transportation 
and Infrastructure 
2164 Rayburn HOB 
Washington, DC 20515 

The Honorable Bruce Westerman 
Ranking Republican Member 
Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment 
Ford House Office Building 
Washington, DC 20515 

Re: H.R. 2440 the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act 

Dear Chairman DeFazio, Chairwoman Napolitano, Ranking Members Graves and Westerman: 

On behalf of the Members of the International Liquid Terminals Association (ILTA) we thank you for your bipartisan leadership in constructing and maintaining America's critical maritime infrastructure. We especially appreciate your bipartisan commitment to provide full utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF). As Chairwoman Napolitano observed at the April 10 Subcommittee hearing on this issue, "The case for federal investment is simple: we must use what we collect to maintain our ports to ensure and maintain America's global competitiveness." 

The HMTF is levied on the value of imported goods and was designed to provide 100 percent of operations and maintenance costs for deep draft and coastal waterways throughout the United States. Despite unaddressed needs, since 2003, HMTF collections have far exceeded funds appropriated for harbor maintenance, dredging and expansion, and the surplus of collections over expenditures has grown to over $9 billion. 

Our ports are uniquely 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 a jobs 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. 

Maintaining America's port facilities is vital to our economy, but this critical infrastructure requires investment- to develop, maintain and expand. We at ILTA believe that failure to invest in this important infrastructure, especially when the funds are collected from those importers utilizing the facilities is extremely short sighted. Our members stand ready to make significant private investments to expand their facilities if they are confident that those investments will be supported by government commitment to and investment in maintaining ports and harbors. 

Introduction of H.R. 2440 the "Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act" is an important first step towards our shared goal of full use of the funds taken into the HMTF each year and spending down the surplus to address critical needs and providing support for all U.S. ports. 

We encourage you to consider expanding your legislation to fully address not just expenditure of the HMTF but also ensuring a fair regional distribution of the funds and consideration for important emerging harbors. ILTA encourages further discussion and stands ready to work with you to address all the issues surrounding better utilization of the HMTF. 

Sincerely, 


Kathryn Clay 
President 
ILTA

Founded in 1974, the International Liquid Terminals Association represents more than 85 companies operating liquid terminals in all 50 states and in over 40 countries. Our members' facilities provide critical links between all modes of transportation for liquid commodities, such as crude oil, petroleum products, chemicals, renewable fuels, fertilizer, vegetable oils and other food-grade materials that are central to the U.S. economy. Terminals provide essential logistics services that spur trade both within the United States and connect the U.S. economy with overseas markets. ILTA's membership also includes about 400 companies that supply equipment and services to the terminal industry.