Monday, April 10 2017
Photo Caption: U.S. Congressman and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) (center) after receiving AAPA’s 2017 “Port Person of the Year” award shown with Louisiana Port members Chett Chiasson, Executive Director, Port Fourchon (4th from left); Joseph Accardo, Jr., Executive Director, Ports Association of Louisiana (4th from right); Gary LaGrange (3rd from right); and Paul Aucoin, Executive Director, Port of South Louisiana (2nd from right); and Matt Gresham, Director of External Affairs, Port of New Orleans (right) (photo courtesy of AAPA)
Port of South Louisiana Praises Cong. Scalise’s Efforts to Secure Funding for Mississippi River Dredging
Port of South Louisiana -- On Tuesday, April 4, 2017, at a reception held in Washington, D.C. during the American Association of Port Authorities’ (AAPA) spring conference, U.S. Congressman and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) received the organization’s 2017 “Port Person of the Year” award for his continuous support of the maritime industry.
A strong leader, Congressman Scalise is resolute in upholding the Constitution, is an advocate for fiscal responsibility and lower taxes, and is a proponent of a national energy strategy that encourages independence from foreign oil. At the same time, he is praised for his aptitude in uniting his colleagues to pass effective legislation, so much so that Congressman Scalise has been elected House Majority Whip twice since his election into Congress in 2008.
Congressman Scalise is steadfast in his support of the maritime industry. His commitment to pass the Water Resources and Development Act (WRRDA), a bipartisan bill spearheaded by then-Senator David Vitter that was designed to strengthen water transportation infrastructure and modernize ports in the United States, was successful in 2014. WRRDA authorized critical reforms to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), established by Congress in 1986, and designed to cover all operation and maintenance costs of the nation’s waterways. Although the HMTF is estimated to be greater than $9 billion by fiscal year 2017, the funds have not been used for their intended purpose since the trust fund’s inception. In the meantime, the state of the nation’s maritime infrastructure has suffered substantially. WWRDA addresses this situation and authorizes the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) operations management of key infrastructure projects, including navigation improvements, flood risk management, and environmental amelioration like coastal restoration and protection efforts in south Louisiana.
“Louisiana’s ports have a strong and positive impact on our national economy, our global competitiveness, and American job growth,” states Congressman Scalise. “Our ports are some of the busiest in the U.S. They are epicenters for job creation and trade and serve as a gateway to the world economy. Maintaining, improving, and modernizing our port infrastructure and waterways is vitally important to both the Louisiana and the national economy.”
In 2016, Congressman Scalise was involved in the passage of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which includes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 2016 that authorizes funding for improvement projects in America’s ports, channels, locks, dams, and other infrastructure that supports maritime and waterways transportation systems and provides flood protection for communities. To start, WRDA 2016 approved 25 vital USACE projects in 17 states, including hurricane and flood protection projects in Louisiana.
“On behalf of the Port of South Louisiana, I would like to congratulate Congressman Scalise for being recognized as the AAPA Port Person of the Year,” said Executive Director Paul Aucoin. “We deeply appreciate what he has done for Louisiana ports as well as all the other ports in the U.S. I personally look forward to working with him in securing long term permanent funding for dredging the mouth of the Mississippi River.
“The port industry is so fortunate to have a champion in Congress fighting to improve the economic engine that it is,” continued Aucoin. “For that, we thank Congressman Scalise for a job formidably done and we congratulate him on receiving this prestigious award.”
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