Urge Congress to Hit Harbor Maintenance Funding Targets

With the passage of the Water Resources and Reform Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014, Congress committed to achieve full use of the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) through incremental increases over a ten-year period.  FY 2015 is the first year for those incremental increases to be appropriated, leading to full use of the tax collections in FY 2025.

The FY 2015 target is 67 percent of the HMT taxes.  The House Appropriations bill hits the target of $1.17 billion.  The Senate Appropriations subcommittee is roughly $100 million short of the target.

We need your help to get Congress to enforce its WRRDA commitment.  The Alliance and the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition are asking you to join the ‘Hit the HMT Target!’ campaign.

What you can do:

  1. Contact your Senators and Representatives to request that they sign the ‘Hit the HMT Target!” House or Senate letter urging Appropriators to hit the target.  And please share with us how they respond.
  2. Have your chamber sign on to a ‘Hit the HMT Target’ letter that will be sent to Congressional Appropriations Committee leaders.  This letter is being circulated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the American Association of Port Authorities.  You can view the Hit the HMT Target!’ and then e-mail Lmckuhen@aapa-ports.org to sign on.

Signatures will be collected through Thursday, September 25.  The letters will be presented to Congress in late September or early October, ahead of House and Senate negotiations on FY 2015 appropriations.

Talking Points:

  • This great region depends heavily on the maritime sector for transport of the commodities so essential to its agricultural, construction and manufacturing supply chains.
  • In order to keep our region’s competitive advantage in maritime shipping, we need to end the dredging crisis and utilize the HMT for its intended purpose.
  • More than ample funding is available in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF)

If you’d like additional information on this issue, the American Association of Port Authorities has prepared and distributed an HMT information sheet to House and Senate staff providing background on the HMT.

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance and our partners at the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition have been actively supportive of harbor maintenance funding and the full and intended use of the HMTF for dredging and waterway maintenance purposes. The Alliance and GL Metro Chambers Coalition achieved a big victory in July when they advocated for, and Congress subsequently approved, an extra $56 million for the FY ’15 Energy and Water appropriations bill to be used by the Army Corps for harbor maintenance projects.

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