One big reason to celebrate passage in the House of the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012 (H.R.4348) is the successful amendment adopted today that will provide funding to upgrade our harbors.
Of course, there are many other reasons to celebrate a surface transportation bill going to conference between the House and Senate, mainly that it is not the completely unpalatable, original House bill (H.R.7) that would have decimated public transit and undermined Amtrak, transportation and worker safety, federal pensions and workers’ rights. Our objections to that bill run deep and wide and are the subject of another blog.
But right now, we want to take a moment to high-five our maritime unions and Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) who offered the harbor maintenance amendment to the bill (H.R.4348). The amendment brings a common-sense approach to harbor maintenance funding; it says that total resources in any given year that are intended for harbor maintenance should be used for the dredging and maintenance of our ports and waterways—period.
At a time when some members of the House continue to attempt to stuff 10 pounds of garbage into a five-pound transportation funding bag, we congratulate lawmakers for allowing one of the few important, pertinent items into this bill that will have an impact on jobs and commerce.