Seaports Magazine - Spring 2015 - (Page 33)
» GUEST VIEWPOINT
Advocating Seaports Issues
By Rick Maldonado
Rick Maldonado and Associates Inc.
eaports are vital to the economic health of our nation.
According to the "American
Society of Civil Engineers
Report Card for America's Infrastructure,"
our nation's grade for infrastructure was
a D+ - between "mediocre" and "poor."
Ports were graded a C, or "in fair to good
condition; however showing signs of deterioration and requires attention." Ports' message before policymakers should include
the need of a national effort to maintain
our country's infrastructure. A simultaneous effort is necessary in developing a
blueprint for long-term infrastructure needs.
Seaport issues can be complex in view
of the many concerns that impact ports,
including dredging or other Army Corps
of Engineers programs, surface transportation, maritime transportation, Homeland
Security and national security, environmental issues, trade agreements and the
Each of these subject areas is covered
under a multitude of proposed legislation,
public law and federal programs in various agencies. It is important for port staff
and their federal representatives to make
contact with policymakers in all branches
of government. Congress, the Executive
Branch and the many federal agencies
should be provided essential information
on the ports specific concerns. The information will educate lawmakers so that they
can make informed decisions.
For example, dredging is an area very
familiar with port staff. It is a key activity most ports address on a regular basis.
However, Army Corps of Engineers programs are complex and the many provisions in proposed legislative language can
Congressional staff assigned to Army
Corps of Engineers issues should be
As we move into this new congressional year, ports
involvement in helping frame our issues before
lawmakers will be crucial.
prepared to provide Congressmen or
Senators with packaged information that
supports the needs of the port in his/her district or state. However, to accomplish this
task, it is necessary for port staff and federal
representatives to assist legislative staff.
The recent passage of the Water Resources
Reform and Development Act (WRRDA)
is a key example of a successful collaborative effort. Both chambers overwhelmingly
passed the measure - by a House vote of
412-4 and a Senate vote of 91-7. This would
not have been possible if Congressional staff
were not provided with the substantive information that answered complicated questions
on the many Army Corps of Engineersimpacted programs. The authorizing legislation addressed the Harbor Maintenance Tax
revenue issue, authorized $12 billion in new
construction projects and streamlined the
project review process under the 3x3x3 rule,
which limits feasibility studies to three years
and $3 million. WRRDA included many
other key initiatives seaports urged Congress
to address. These accomplishments within
the legislation are the result in large part to
the many discussions held between legislative staff, port staff/federal representatives,
trade organizations, including AAPA, and
the Army Corps of Engineers. The bill truly
rose above partisan politics.
As we move into this new Congressional
year, ports involvement in helping frame
our issues before lawmakers will be crucial.
Reauthorization of the surface transportation bill with an emphasis on freight mobility, which support intermodal programs and
projects, will be on the forefront.
Ports have a powerful story to tell during
the deliberation of the many issues that
impact seaports. Port representatives visiting with policymakers have an arsenal
of positive information to support port
The nation's 360 commercial sea and
river ports with public and privately owned
marine facilities move more than 2 billion
tons of domestic and import/export cargo
annually. Combined with other ports in
the Western Hemisphere, seaports handle 7.8 billion tons each year and provide
approximately $8.6 trillion in economic
activity. Ports generate $212 billion in U.S.
federal, state and local taxes. Additionally,
port activity supports the employment
of approximately 13 million people with
seaport-related jobs, accounting for
$650 billion in personal income.
Ports should try to communicate with
policymakers from all 50 states, noting each
of our 50 states is dependent on at least 15
seaports to handle its imports and exports.
Policymakers cannot make informed decisions unless they clearly understand all
sides of an issue. During President Barack
Obama's State of the Union address, he
mentioned the need for modern ports. It
is our job to have him and other lawmakers repeat our port concerns again and
again. As stated in the "American Society
of Civil Engineers Report Card," a D+ is
simply not acceptable for our country's
Rick Maldonado is a consultant with
Rick Maldonado and Associates Inc.
SPRING 2015 * WWW.AAPASEAPORTS.COM
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Spring 2015
From the President’s Desk
Building a Strong Brand
Laying a Foundation for Success
How Tenants and the Freight Community Bring a Brand to Life
The Value of Awards for Ports
Ensuring Cost-Efficient Transportation to Global Markets
‘Welcome to Our Port’
Port of Port Arthur’s Camp Sea Port Sails into the Future
Advocating Seaports Issues Before Policymakers
Index of Advertisers
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2015