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June 01, 2017

U.S. port authorities concerned over cuts in infrastructure funding

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) warned about the declines for most federally funded, port-related programs in President Trump's fiscal 2018 budget request.

Among the budget proposals for next year is eliminating the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) TIGER grants program, which last year awarded U.S. ports $61.8 million in multimodal infrastructure grants such as dock, rail and road improvements. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security's Port Security Grant Program (PSGP), which Congress last funded at $100 million and which provided 35 port security-related grants in fiscal 2017, would see funding reduced to $47.8 million - a 52 percent cut.

President Trump has also proposed cutting the overall Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) budget by 31 percent, while the EPA's Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grants would see an 83 percent reduction. These grants have helped ports to make investments in clean diesel equipment and reduction strategies at the ports themselves, and they've used them to help businesses buy newer, cleaner-burning trucks, locomotives and vessels. Authorized at $100 million, DERA grants are currently funded at $60 million, while the President's fiscal 2018 budget calls for $10 million in funding.

However, AAPA says it is encouraged by the Administration's recently announced major infrastructure initiative to support $1 trillion in infrastructure over 10 years, of which $200 billion would be in direct spending. Of that $200 billion, $5 billion is proposed for spending next year.

Source: AAPA