ILTA Approves Bill to Use Fully the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund
The U.S. House of Representatives on October 28 voted to approve H.R. 2440, the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) legislation, just days after ILTA sent a letter to House members urging such action.
“This critical bipartisan legislation has the support of both the Committee on Transportation Chairman Peter DeFazio and Ranking Member Sam Graves, along with Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment Chairwoman Grace Napolitano and Ranking Member Bruce Westerman,” ILTA President Kathryn Clay said in the letter. “Our ports are critically important to America’s transportation infrastructure system. They facilitate U.S. and international trade and are responsible for $4.6 trillion in annual economic activity – approximately 26% of the entire U.S. economy,” she added.
The legislation, which still requires Senate approval, stipulates that the money in the fund – which is collected through the Harbor Maintenance Tax – be used for its intended purpose: upgrading and modernizing the nation’s harbors, ports and waterways. Established in 1986, the tax is levied on goods entering U.S. ports and designed to recover the operations and maintenance costs for deep draft and coastal waterways throughout the U.S. However, during the past 15 years, some of the money has been diverted to pay down the federal debt rather than its intended purpose.