One of those was House floor action on the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), a bill critical to keeping our nation’s waterways flowing with trade, maintaining maritime and construction jobs, and growing our economy. This bill (H.R.3080), which is now back on track and scheduled for House floor action tomorrow, includes important reforms to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund that uses taxes collected on commercial shippers to pay for the maintenance and operation of our channels, ports and harbors.
As the most conservative in Congress push a reckless austerity agenda, we are falling further and further behind in international trade.
So, how does America stay competitive? We need the House to pass a multi-year water resources bill and reject any amendments that would weaken the bipartisan support this bill has garnered or undermine the interests of workers. H.R. 3080 and a Senate bill passed in May, we are happy to note, steadily increase the amount of money spent from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund on actual harbor maintenance projects—a policy TTD has long pushed.
More than 50 years have passed since we opened the world’s first container terminal at the Port of New York and New Jersey. Today, rather than being on the forefront of transportation innovation, we find ourselves staggering to keep up and hampered by ports and harbors that are underfunded and outdated, as demonstrated by the mediocre “C” grade given them by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is dumping billions into their harbors to be able to accommodate a new breed of mega ships coming through the Panama Canal with deeper drafts that require modernized terminals and deeper depths.
We cannot continue to sit idly by. It is time. It is time to get our nation’s water resources properly funded. Our economy can’t wait.