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AAPA concern over proposed port funding cuts

US President Donald Trump has sent Congress a 2018 budget request which, says the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), signals the decline for most federally funded, port-related programmes.

Among the budget proposals for next year is to eliminate the US Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants programme, which last year awarded American ports US$61.8 million in grants to make infrastructure improvements.

AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle, told Port Strategy that US ports are obviously concerned that the transportation infrastructure they depend on for goods movement get a high priority in the president’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure initiative.

“We’re at a point in time when the demands on our seaports and the supporting multimodal and security infrastructure has never been higher,” he said.

“TIGER is the only federal multimodal transportation grant program that has been able to be that tool for ports, although the president has recommended eliminating it in fiscal 2018.”

He explained that AAPA members have identified $29 billion in onsite multimodal landside infrastructure needs and a combined $66 billion for both landside and waterside port infrastructure over the next decade.

In addition to the TIGER grant cuts, President Trump has proposed that the Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security Grant Program (PSGP), which Congress last funded at $100 million, would see funding reduced to $47.8 million, a cut of 52%.

Mr Nagle added: “Our member ports take security very seriously. A reduction in port security funding and CBP personnel sends the wrong message to the “bad guys” that America’s ports could become vulnerable.”

Trump has also proposed cutting the overall Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget by 31%, while the EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grants, which helps ports invest in cleaner equipment and CO2 reduction strategies, could see an 83% reduction.
Source: Port Strategy

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