The transportation authorization conference report includes a strong statement from the Congress calling for increased spending from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) and directing the Administration to make public the impacts of it’s inadequate harbor maintenance funding requests and the actual funding levels needed to restore America’s navigation channels (see attached Word document).
This language is well short of what enacting H.R.104 or S.412 would have provided but it does break new ground in providing Congressional direction to the House of Representatives and Senate Appropriations Committees and to the Administration regarding HMTF funding. This represents the first time that the Congress has enacted language recognizing the inadequacy of Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund spending and the rare time that a maritime provision like this has been included in any surface transportation authorization bill. This progress is due to the persistence of the RAMP Coalition and is further proof that harbor maintenance funding has become a top tier national economic issue.
Barry Holliday Chairman of RAMP expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the Coalition members and Congressional supporters: |!|I want to thank Congressman Charles Boustany and Senator Carl Levin for their tireless efforts to put the harbor maintenance issue on the Congressional legislative agenda and all of the cosponsors of H.R.104 and S.412 for their support in this endeavor. The RAMP Coalition members continue to be a driving force in educating the Congress on the economic impacts associated with inadequate harbor maintenance. Now that the conferees have expressed their view that harbor maintenance spending should dramatically increase it is up the Appropriations Committees to deliver. As this language is just the first step in enacting a long-term solution for harbor maintenance funding the RAMP Coalition will continue to pursue stronger authorizing legislation.|!|