The American Association of Port Authorities was pleased to learn that the U.S. House has released the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2020, providing $7.355 billion in annual funding.
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) – the unified and recognized voice of America’s seaports – was pleased to learn that the U.S. House has released the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2020. The bill provides $7.355 billion in annual funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), which builds on last year’s record appropriation of $7 billion for the Corps.
The FY 2020 funding is 5.1 percent above the FY 2019 amount, and 52.4 percent above the President’s budget proposal of $4.827 billion.
“AAPA strongly applauds the House Appropriations Committee, together with Energy and Water Subcommittee Chairwoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Ranking Member Mike Simpson (R-ID), for their commitment to continuing on the path to full use of the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT), which is essential to ensuring our nation’s harbors are well maintained and competitive,” said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle. “Our national economy relies on a strong ports system, which supports 31 million American jobs."
He added: “Seaports are economic engines and vital freight gateways to the global marketplace for American framers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers, and serve as critical infrastructure for the U.S. military. The House mark would bring HMT spending to 95 percent of the estimated $1.782 billion FY 2019 HMT revenues.
We look forward to reaching 100 percent use of the revenues as well as the use of the over $9 billion surplus in the harbor maintenance trust fund. Full spending of all revenues and the port industry’s funding allocation agreement would provide the needed resources to bring our nation’s harbors to their authorized depths and widths, and address tax equity and fairness issues for all U.S. ports.”
In today’s legislation, Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund projects would receive $1.697 billion, which is $147 million above the FY 2019 level, for an increase of $732 million above the President’s request and $100 million above the target set by the Water Resources Development Act of 2016. This amount equates to more than 95 percent of the estimated $1.782 billion in FY 2019 Harbor Maintenance Tax revenues.
The bill directs six new study starts and six new construction starts, with no designation of specific programs such as navigation. This bill also continues the prohibition on using any of these funds for work transferred from Corps functions to another federal agency.