U.S. President Barack Obama recognized the importance of seaport-related infrastructure by announcing seven projects of national and regional significance which will benefit from aggressive federal permit decision-making and review schedules. Each of these projects directly support America’s seaports and their ability to move freight efficiently to reduce costs to consumers, create jobs, and help America’s manufacturing and agricultural industries sell their goods overseas.
“The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has long stressed the importance of expediting permitting and project delivery processes for water- and land-side access infrastructure projects at America’s seaports,” said Kurt Nagle, AAPA’s president and CEO. “These types of projects not only aid in the efficient movement of freight, they pay long-term dividends by supporting job creation and economic growth, and help to ensure America’s international competitiveness overseas. We hope that additional water- and land-side access projects at seaports will be added to the list.”
The need to expedite infrastructure projects through permitting and environmental review processes was a recommendation of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Fourteen projects, including highway, bridge, transit, water supply and other projects were initially identified by the administration last October. In a March, 2012 Executive Order, the president formally directed federal agencies to identify nationally or regionally significant infrastructure projects and set aggressive schedules for completing the necessary federal permit and review decisions associated with each project.
The projects announced today are the first seven of 43 additional projects that will be expedited under the Executive Order. The names of the other projects will be announced in the coming weeks.
The seven projects include five harbor improvements to deepen federal navigation channels for larger ships (in Jacksonville, Miami, Charleston, Savannah and New York/New Jersey), a project to increase the height of the New York harbor’s Bayonne Bridge to enhance navigation, and an intermodal container facility in Jacksonville to increase rail capacity. More information on the projects is available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/19/we-can-t-wait-obama-administration-announces-5-major-port-projects-be-ex.
Founded in 1912, AAPA today represents more than 130 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and about 300 sustaining, associate and honorary members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports. As a critical link for access to the global marketplace, each year, Western Hemisphere seaports generate about US$9 trillion of economic activity, support the employment of tens of millions of people and import and export about 8 billion tons of cargo, including food, clothing, medicine, fuel and building materials, as well as consumer electronics and toys. As Western Hemisphere populations continue to rise, so too does the demand for goods, services and cruise offerings that depend on our seaports. To meet these demands, the AAPA and its members are committed to keeping seaports navigable, secure and sustainable.