The American Association of Port Authorities has endorsed an action by 42 U.S. Senators in which they joined Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) in sending a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) objecting to recent Administration policy change. According to the letter the OMB policy “violates the clear intent of Congress as well as the precedent and tradition of civil works funding in prior years.”
Addressed to OMB Director Franklin Raines the letter articulates Senate objections to a policy change that essentially eliminates future funding for 54 civil works projects affecting 23 states. The policy change according to the letter was made unilaterally by OMB without formal consultation with Congress.
Among the civil works projects affected by the decision are long-term navigation channel projects.
According to the Senate letter “the budget and legislative process provided many occasions for discussion of policy concerns prior to these projects being authorized appropriated and signed into law… If there were serious objections the President had an unprecedented opportunity to act at that time. Such a policy change should not be made retroactively on projects that are now law. Doing so prevents the Corps of Engineers from fulfilling its mandate to carry out congressional intent as reflected in the law.”
“We appreciate the leadership and initiative of Senator Lott and many of his Senate colleagues on this important issue” said AAPA President Kurt J. Nagle. “Timely investments in our water highways are critical to our country’s ability to compete in the global marketplace” he said.