Dredging projects critical to navigation, one of several political priorities for the industry, took a step forward Wednesday when the U.S. Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act by a vote of 83-14.
“The passage of the Water Resources Development Act today brings much-needed reforms to harbor maintenance funding,” Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, said in a statement. “The bill puts us on a path to fully funding our harbor maintenance needs and helps chip away at the $2.2 billion maintenance backlog in our nation’s ports and harbors that hampers international commerce and threatens American jobs.”
The bill, S.601, would steadily increase the amount of money spent from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund on harbor maintenance projects and require that the spending match the revenue taken in by the harbor maintenance tax by 2020.
“This will create substantial investments in a maritime industry that supports 500,000 jobs, plays a critical role in expanding U.S. exports and is the gateway to international trade and humanitarian aid,” Wytkind said.
The bill now moves to the House Transportation Committee.