Dredging inaction disappoints US port execs

Dec 28, 2012 | 11:00 AM | Catherine Ngai

Tags  dredging, Port of Houston Authority, Alabama State Port Authority, James Lyons, Ricky Kunz, trade, Army Corps, Catherine Ngai

NEW YORK — Executives at major metal-handling ports are disappointed that language in the most recent transportation bill has not translated into more money spent on maintaining the nation’s waterways.

In June, President Obama signed into law a 27-month transportation bill that continued funding for the nation’s roads, bridges and highways. The bill included language stipulating the use of revenue collected via the 0.125-percent harbor maintenance tax for port dredging (amm.com, July 11), but port and shipping interests say the fund—which has an estimated $6-billion surplus—hasn’t been used as intended.

James Lyons, executive director of the Alabama State Port Authority, estimated that ports across the United States receive only about half the tax collected. "It’s not a Mobile problem, it’s not a New Orleans problem—it’s every port out there. Look at the Great Lakes—many of those ports haven’t had their full authorized depths for many years," he said.....

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