Many Port, Waterway Programs Championed by ILTA in 2020 Budget
ILTA is pleased to report that many port and inland waterways programs it had championed in 2019 are included in the fiscal 2020 budget. With a coalition of other trade associations, ILTA is working to make improvements to the nation’s harbors, ports and inland waterways a national priority. The spending bill makes significant funds available for port infrastructure development (waterside and landside), invests in multimodal transportation, and ensures the timely inspection of goods moving through U.S. ports. There is much yet to be done, but these appropriations are a significant step forward.
Below is a brief breakdown of how ILTA’s priorities fared:
Army Corps of Engineers:
- Coastal Navigation – $2.76 billion. This is a 35% increase over FY 2019 funding, with significant increases in construction as well as operations and maintenance.
- Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund – $1.63 billion. This amount is above the target set by the Water Resources Development Act of 2014 aimed at ensuring full use utilization of the fund by 2025.
- Construction – $1.12 billion. This includes Regional Dredging Demonstration Program funding of $377.65 million.
- Donor and Energy Transfer – $50 million. The bill ensures level funding for the Donor and Energy Transfer Port Program, along with Congressional encouragement that the Army Corps of Engineers include funding for this program in future Congressional requests.
Department of Transportation:
- Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Program (formerly TIGER) – $1 billion. With passage of this bill, an additional $100 million over FY 2019 is available in BUILD grants, increasing eligible port investments and leveraging local and state investments in ports.
- Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) – $1 billion. While Congress has directed that multimodal projects should not be the focus of this program in FY 2020, the Transportation Secretary is directed to invest in a variety of transportation modes, including port infrastructure improvements and multimodal infrastructure projects, with this year’s grants.
- Port Infrastructure Development Program – $225 million. PIDP funds are available for many purposes, including gate improvements, road and rail improvements both within and connecting to ports, berth improvements, cargo operations improvements, and in utilities necessary for safe operations (or any combination of these purposes). While this number is lower than the 2019 budget, it is a significant improvement over the Administration’s efforts to zero out the program.
Federal Railway Administration:
- Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program – $325 million, Funding increased by $70 million over previous levels, allowing for additional investment in various railroad infrastructure projects. In previous years, ports have used these funds to expand rail capacity and replace structurally deficient bridges.
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration:
- Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS) Program – No Less Than $6.25 million. The budget slightly increases the PORTS program funding from FY 2019 and sets a floor for program funding.
Inland Waterways Trust Fund:
- Congress approved $7.65 billion. This is a new record funding level for the Army Corps of Engineers to maintain and rebuild our nation’s waterways. This amount includes full utilization of the user-fee financed Inland Waterways Trust Fund that helps pay for improvements of the nation’s inland waterway system of locks and dams that make inland shipping possible.