Wednesday, September 17 2014
American Association of Port Authorities -- Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) funding in the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water Development Appropriation must meet the WRRDA target for jobs and economic growth to ensure U.S. competitiveness in world trade.
Passage of the Water Resources and Reform Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA) was a major accomplishment of the 113th Congress. Congress, through WRRDA 2014, committed to achieve full use of HMT through incremental increases over a ten-year period, with FY 2015 being the first year. It is vitally important that this commitment be met.
The HMT is collected from users to fund navigation channel maintenance, enabling freight movement to and from the global marketplace. HMT tax collections and interest are estimated to be $1.79 billion in FY 2014. This tax must be fairly and equitably utilized.
Now Congress needs to Hit the HMT Target in the Energy and Water Development Act appropriations. FY 2015 has a target of 67 percent of FY 2014 HMT revenues — $1.17 billion. The House hit the HMT target, thanks to a floor amendment that passed overwhelmingly 281-137. The Senate subcommittee report proposes to appropriate $1.075 billion, which while an increase over FY 2014 funds, does not hit the target.
Letters are being circulated asking Members to sign to urge Congressional Appropriators to Hit the HMT Target – using the House HMT amount when appropriators meet to prepare Omnibus legislation for FY 2015 appropriations.
We need to maintain the momentum of WRRDA’s strong bipartisan passage, which was approved 412-4 and 91-7 in the House and Senate, respectively. The U.S. needs fully maintained navigation channels for safe and efficient freight transportation to the global marketplace which will result in national economic growth and increased skilled craft level jobs throughout the U.S.