The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) - the unified and recognized voice of seaports in the Americas – applauded inclusion of several key seaport industry freight mobility priorities in new legislation that was approved this morning by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW). The Developing Roadway Infrastructure for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE) Act of 2015 is a $278 billion, six-year transportation reauthorization bill that includes a national freight plan and a dedicated freight program, as advocated by AAPA.
Key industry priorities included in the bill are:
- A $13.5 billion program over six years for freight transportation;
- Inclusion of intermodal connectors to seaports in a re-designation of the National Freight Network;
- Expanded port eligibility in the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program;
- $2.4 billion in competitive grants for a Major Projects Program to assist states and regions with large corridor and gateway transportation infrastructure projects;
- Requirements for MAP-21 freight planning provisions for state freight plans and state freight advisory committees, in which states may obligate up to 10 percent of their total annual apportioned funding for intermodal projects, using Highway Trust Fund dollars; and,
- A national freight plan that is to be revised every five years.
AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle commended the bipartisan leadership and support provided by Senate EPW Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and the other committee members in prioritizing freight infrastructure and proposing a dedicated program for freight. “Many of the legislation’s provisions and funding allocations stem from, or are in line with, AAPA freight policy and input from our U.S.-member ports in our 2015 The State of Freight report,” said Mr. Nagle.
“With port cargo activity now accounting for more than a quarter of the U.S. economy, America’s ports are the nation’s economic lifeline,” he added. “Bills such as this that prioritize freight movement and facilitate the efficient movement of goods into and out of ports help enhance America’s international competitiveness and provide enormous benefits to exporters, manufacturers and consumers across the nation.”
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.
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