LONG BEACH— Officials from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles expressed approval when the U.S. Senate passed a bill into law which will provide increased funding for dredging projects in the nation’s top two ports.
In a prepared statement, president of the Port of Long Beach Harbor Commission, Doug Drummond called the act “one of the most significant pieces of legislation for port communities across the county.”
The Water Resources Reform Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA), a bipartisan bill, will allow the country’s ports to receive benefits from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.
“I am proud of the process Congress has made to ensure donor ports, like the Port of Long Beach, are given a fair share of Harbor Maintenance Tax Fund dollars,” Drummond said. “The bill will help the Port of Long Beach because it allows for ‘expanded use’ of the trust fund.”
The Senate passed the bill with a 91-7 vote two days after the House pushed the motion through with a 412-4 tally. The bill will now be sent to the President Barack Obama for a final signature. The WRRDA will steadily increase funding, reportedly to about $1.8 billion by 2025, for nation’s ports to assist in projects such as dredging and sediment disposal.
According to media reports, the Port of Los Angeles puts in more than $260 million annually toward the Harbor Maintenance Tax fund, and the Port of Long Beach doles out more than $200 million a year.
Heavily championed by Boxer, who is also the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, the act will help minimize the review process of government authorized studies, limiting the amount spent on projects.
“Despite significant maintenance needs at our nation’s ports, only roughly half of the taxes collected in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund each year are actually used for port maintenance activities,” Boxer told the Senate. “This conference report calls for full expenditure of all revenues collected in the Trust Fund by 2025. This will improve the flow of commerce at the approximately 360 ports around the country.”
According to U.S Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, nation’s ports and waterways moved more than 2.3 billion tons of goods in 2012, with California moving the most.
“This legislation will provide much-needed investments in our ports and waterways and keep our nation competitive,” Drummond added.