Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 28

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PORTS + POLITICS

Every American, Every Day
is Impacted by Port Activities
By Rep. Alan Lowenthal and Rep. Ted Poe

W

hether it is the food we
eat, the cars we drive, the
light bulbs we use to light
our homes or the clothing we wear, every American household is
impacted every single day by the activity of
our ports. This activity accounts for over a
quarter of our economy, generating trillions
of dollars and bringing in over $300 billion
in tax revenue each year. As co-chairs of
the Congressional PORTS Caucus, it is our
privilege and duty to be the voice of one of
our nation's top economic engines.
Ports are the lungs of America -- imperative to the nation's stability and bringing
much-needed fresh air into the economy.
However, our ports only operate efficiently if our infrastructure continues to
be updated. With the recently completed
expansion of the Panama Canal, many of
our nation's ports have found themselves
unable to accommodate the new, larger
cargo vessels. With upgrades and support
from the U.S. government, including those
of us in Congress, they can be open for this
new business.
It is the federal government's duty to
maintain the safety, strength and capabilities of our ports and waterways. In 1986,
Congress created the Harbor Maintenance
Trust Fund (HMTF) to pay for port maintenance and dredging needs, and it is funded
by taxing those entities that use ports. In
other words, those that use a port help pay
for the port's maintenance. However, in
recent years, Congress has failed to help
our nation's ports, electing to spend funds
meant for our nation's ports on pet projects.

28

AAPA SEAPORTS MAGAZINE

Each year, our nation's
ports handle over
46 million shipping
containers and more
than 14 million
international passengers,
and container traffic
is projected to grow
at an annual rate of
5 percent between
now and 2030.

Full utilization of the HMTF has been,
and will continue to be, a top issue for the
Congressional PORTS Caucus. We intend
to introduce meaningful legislation to
address this continual problem in the 115th
Congress, and we call on other Members of
Congress to join us in this fight.
The PORTS Caucus is also focused on
ensuring that our ports serve as a first layer
of security. Each year, our nation's ports
handle over 46 million shipping containers
and more than 14 million international passengers, and container traffic is projected to
grow at an annual rate of 5 percent between
now and 2030. Despite these projected
increases in traffic, our ports do not have
enough Customs and Border Protection
(CBP) agents to help improve screening

capacity. In 2014, Congress appropriated
funds to CBP to hire more than 2,000 new
agents, but only 20 agents were assigned to
seaports. This is unacceptable and presents serious security risks. It also has led
to delays in dock-side inspections, creating a ripple-effect through our economic
supply chain.
The lack of appropriate staffing by the
CBP in recent years is a difficult challenge
to overcome, but it is not the only security
issue we face. Successfully screening cargo
containers is paramount to ensuring that
dangerous cargo does not enter our vast
transit system.
In 2007, Congress and the Bush
Administration passed legislation requiring
that 100 percent of the containers entering our seaports be extensively screened.
The overall feasibility of this mandate still
remains to be seen, but it is an important
goal to work towards. While there are private manufacturers that can help meet this
mandate, X-ray scanners are very costly,
and realistically, Congress would only fund
them without a spending increase.
Each new Congress brings with it fresh
opportunities to effectively address areas of
concern. As co-chairs of the Congressional
PORTS Caucus, we are focused on pushing
for full utilization of the HMTF, improving the infrastructure surrounding - and
within - our nation's seaports, as well as
maintaining and improving the security
capabilities of our seaports. We are committed to ensuring our nation's ports are
safe, ready, and able to continue to drive
our economy and protect our country.  ●



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017

AAPA Headquarters
From the President’s Desk
Ports’ Power as Conveners
FAST Act Impact
Following Up on the Funding Trail
Infrastructure Coordination: Competing Globally, Acting Locally
A Digital Vision of Leadership: Using Technology to Improve the Supply Chain in Los Angeles
XXV Latin American Congress of Ports
Every American, Every Day is Impacted by Port Activities
LED Lighting – The Right Choice for Ports?
Index of Advertisers
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - into
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - bellyband1
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - bellyband2
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - cover1
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - cover2
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 3
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 4
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 5
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - AAPA Headquarters
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 7
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - From the President’s Desk
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 9
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - Ports’ Power as Conveners
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 11
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 12
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 13
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - FAST Act Impact
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 15
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 16
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - Following Up on the Funding Trail
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 18
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 19
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - Infrastructure Coordination: Competing Globally, Acting Locally
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 21
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 22
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 23
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - A Digital Vision of Leadership: Using Technology to Improve the Supply Chain in Los Angeles
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 25
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - XXV Latin American Congress of Ports
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 27
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - Every American, Every Day is Impacted by Port Activities
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 29
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - LED Lighting – The Right Choice for Ports?
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 31
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - Index of Advertisers
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 33
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - 34
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - cover3
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - cover4
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - divider1
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2017 - divider2
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