The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), the collective and unified voice of America’s seaports, has sent Port of Cleveland President and CEO William Friedman to testify for a fund of US$ 66 billion over the next decade for America’s public ports.
Friedman presented his case before the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) in a hearing titled ‘America’s Water Infrastructure Needs and Challenges’.
His testimony, which has focused on issues related to navigation infrastructure maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement, is to help committee members better understand and appreciate some of the critical infrastructure issues faced by US ports.
Speaking before the testimony, AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle said: “AAPA is looking forward with great anticipation to a focus on America’s infrastructure investment needs by the Trump Administration and Congress in 2018.
“Our testimony tomorrow will kick-off the new year with infrastructure as a priority, including waterside infrastructure that needs to be addressed in the next WRDA (Water Resources Development Act) legislation.
“Seaport cargo activity accounts for 26 percent of US GDP, over 23 million American jobs, and generates over $320 billion annually in federal, state and local tax revenues.
“To ensure these jobs, tax revenues and freight volumes continue to grow and support the American economy, AAPA has worked with its member ports to identify $66 billion in federal port-related infrastructure investments over the next 10 years, on both the waterside and the landside.”
As AAPA’s US Delegation chairman-elect, Friedman has discussed the value to the nation’s economic future of constructing and maintaining 21st century infrastructure, stressing that port-related infrastructure must be part of any broad infrastructure investment legislation the committee develops.
He has also shared AAPA recommendations for inclusion in the next WRDA bill.
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In addition to providing examples of waterside infrastructure needs, Friedman has offered AAPA’s recommendations for water resources legislation to enhance the US Army Corps of Engineers navigation program.
Also testifying on the same panel were representatives for the Restore the Mississippi Delta Coalition, the National Association of Counties, the Congressional Research Service and the Muskogee City-County Port Authority in Oklahoma.
Nagle added: “Ports serve as economic engines and vital freight gateways to the global marketplace for American farmers, manufacturers and consumers, and serve as critical infrastructure for the US military in any deployment overseas.
“Our testimony before the Senate EPW Committee is a way to draw further attention to the value that ports provide and to stress that efficient waterside and landside connections to ports must be a top priority in any broad federal infrastructure package that we’re optimistic will be advanced this year.”
The Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC) Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Port of Long Beach Port of Los Angeles Ports America Group, Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) SSA Marine, all recently wrote a letter to Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, urging him “not to overlook America’s ports” when developing a national strategy to make crucial investments in America’s infrastructure.
The letter stated: “As you develop a national strategy to make crucial investments in America’s national infrastructure, we urge you not to overlook America’s ports.
“Outdated infrastructure at our nation’s ports threatens to interrupt the supply chain and ultimately the American economy.
“This critical infrastructure challenge must be met by increased public and private investment in U.S. ports.”