Water Resources Reform & Development Act/Harbor Maintenance Tax

Water Resource Development Acts regularly enacted by Congress provide for critical authorizations of coastal navigation projects and modify water resource policy. The appropriations of funds help maintain and improve federal navigation channels, and enable California to compete in the global market. The Harbor Maintenance Tax is a federal funding mechanism designed to provide ports resources for maintenance dredging.

The HMT is a critical source of funding for our system of ports and harbors, and is essential to keeping our nation competitive in the global economy. The maintenance funded by the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) supports a well-functioning navigation system that includes ports and harbors that accommodate containers, bulk goods, agricultural products, automobiles, and fisheries, and that serve as critical harbors of refuge. This system not only supports jobs in operations and maintenance, but facilitates trade that supports jobs throughout the supply chain, reduces transportation costs for American businesses, keeps prices lower for American consumers, and is among the greenest in the world.

The California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA) firmly believes in fair and equitable federal funding policies and strongly supports the following principles:

HMTF Spending Level

  • Enforceable measures to assure the goal of full utilization of HMT revenues for their intended purposes;

Expanded Eligible Uses of HMTF Funds

  • More equitable return of HMT funds to the system of ports. Currently, several states, including California, contribute a large share of the HMT and do not receive a fair share in return;
  • Recognition of a donor state model;
  • Inclusion of maintenance dredging of berths and disposals of contaminated sediments as eligible HMT uses;

Prioritization of Funding

  • Prioritization of HMT funds for traditional Operations and Maintenance (O&M) purposes, e.g., all federal navigation channels maintained at authorized and constructed depths and widths, disposal sites, jetties and breakwaters, and studies;
  • Consideration of funding prioritization;
  • Recognition of the importance of moderate-use ports and harbors and their needs;

Nonfederal Cost Share for O&M

  • Adoption of a cost-share formula that reflects the current cargo fleet;

Additionally, we note that CAPA does not support the use of HMT funds for landside projects or new in-water projects (i.e. Construction-General, widening, or deepening).

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