Boustany presents amendment to ensure full funding for harbor maintenance

U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-LA) continued his support of America’s water concerns last week, offering an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, advocating for full funding for maintenance of America’s harbors.

Reps. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) and Janice Hahn (D-CA) joined Boustany in supporting the measure.

In 2014, when Congress passed the Water Resources and Reform Development Act (WRRDA), Boustany pushed to insert legislative language to establish targets and outline incremental funding increases for each year, which would lead to full use of Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) revenues by FY2025.

The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) collects an estimated $1.8 billion in HMT revenue each year. The FY2016 Energy and Water Appropriations bill includes just $1.18 billion for harbor maintenance funding.

The amendment presented by Boustany, Huizenga and Hahn, which passed by voice vote, would ensure that Congress meets its commitment under the WRRDA legislation of a $1.25 billion allocation from the trust fund for the coming fiscal year.

“Congress must honor its commitments, plain and simple,” Boustany said. “Today, the Army Corps of Engineers has reported that nationwide authorized channel depths are available only half of the time. Why do we do this to ourselves when we have plenty of funds to address this issue? My bipartisan amendment ensures our ports are dredged to adequate depths and widths, supporting American competitiveness abroad and job creation at home.”