The Port of Los Angeles praised U.S. Congressional and local leaders for approving the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA) as part of the year-end omnibus and COVID relief legislative package. The bipartisan legislation, approved on Monday by the House and Senate, is essential to our country’s ports, harbors, and inland waterways.
“I am particularly proud that this legislation achieves my decades-long mission to unlock the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) by allowing billions of dollars in already-collected HMTF fees to be used for their intended purpose — ensuring that maintenance needs of U.S. ports and harbors are met,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
“The big accomplishment in this bill is the provision I drafted that will provide a six-fold increase in funding to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for dredging, cleanup, and maintenance, something for which I have fought for many years,” said Rep. Grace Napolitano, Chair of the House Subcommittee on Water Resources. “We included this important provision after the Subcommittee visited the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach earlier this year to learn about ongoing needs there.”
“Thank you to our Congressional leaders for ending 2020 with a clear message of federal support for our nation’s maritime infrastructure,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “I applaud the tremendous work of Rep. DeFazio, Rep. Napolitano and California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.
“Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti testified on the importance of this legislation earlier this year, and we owe him our gratitude for his unwavering commitment to the needs of the maritime industry,” Seroka added.
Addressing in-water infrastructure maintenance needs for all of the nation’s ports, including donor ports like the Port of Los Angeles, has been a priority for over a decade. Credit for this major achievement also goes to the American Association of Port Authorities, the California Association of Port Authorities and the California Congressional Delegation.
The Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) is collected on the value of imports, certain domestic cargo and on cruise passengers. The tax was created to fund 100% of operations and maintenance costs of federal navigation channels. Annual HMT collections, plus unspent collections from previous years and all accumulated interest, make up the HMTF. HMT revenues were nearly $1.8 billion in fiscal year 2019.
Sea News, December 29