- The American Association of Port Authorities released a full list of the requests they made to Congress for inclusion in the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, which if passed would provide funding for infrastructure and port improvements nationwide.
- The list reveals the Senate's version of the bill took all the requests at least partially into account while the House only addressed half of the association's requests. In addition to port concerns, the versions also allocate billions for flood control and environmental restoration projects.
- As negotiations move forward, the association stated they would lobby to ensure the final version includes three priorities even if others fall by the wayside: full utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Tax, updating the cost-share formula for channel deepening, and ensuring implementation and enforcement mechanisms.
Congress will not reconvene until after the elections, for a lame duck session, but this is the time associations lobby to ensure key priorities are not struck from legislation during negotiations.
The passing of both versions of the bill is already a success, but the legislation could still be delayed if negotiations go sour, reason for which ports and other stakeholders must urge for passing this year. After all, problems could arise with a new cast of characters on Capitol Hill and a new president begin next year.
If it does pass, however, ports will be able to request additional federal funding for many of the projects which are already taking place from Savannah to New York, as importers expect more and larger ships coming to the East Coast following the Panama Canal expansion.