The U.S. House of Representatives this week approved language to ensure that funds designated for commercial harbor dredging and maintenance are used for that purpose and not directed toward unrelated projects. Currently, only half the $1.6 billion in taxes collected annually by the federal Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is utilized for the original intent of the fund.
“This amendment, which was approved with bipartisan support, is an overdue recognition of the jobs and economic activity that flow from a modern maritime infrastructure,” said Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. “There simply is no way the U.S. can meet the goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years without significant investment in our ports and commercial waterways.”
Only a handful of U.S. ports currently have the capacity to handle a new caliber of ships that is expected to follow in the wake of a massive expansion of the Panama Canal. The largest of those ships will measure more than 1,000 feet long, 100 feet wide and extend more than 40 feet below the waterline.