House passes bill to invest $34 billion in harbors

The Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act would invest revenues to be used for dredging and other projects.
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The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed H.R. 2440, the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act, by a 296-109 margin. The legislation would invest $34 billion in HMTF revenues toward port and harbor maintenance during the next 10 years.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association applauded House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and ranking member Sam Graves (R-Mo.) for their leadership in unlocking the funds.

Approximately $9.3 billion that has already been collected is sitting in the U.S. Treasury, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates the HMTF will collect an additional $24.5 billion in new revenues during the next decade, according to the NMMA. The organization said in a statement that Congress is on pace to invest $19.4 billion in harbor maintenance during the same decade, resulting in an HMTF balance of $14.4 billion by fiscal year 2029.

Full utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act would establish budget authority to expend the funds collected over the next decade and would appropriate additional funds for harbor maintenance from the existing $9.3 billion balance to the HMTF.

The funding would allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredge all federal harbors to their constructed widths and depths.

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