The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has welcomed news that the US Congress has completed negotiations on the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA), which includes language to establish a new Maritime Transportation System Emergency Relief Programme (MTSERP).
AAPA President and CEO Christopher J. Connor said, “By putting forward this legislation, it’s clear that Congress understands the nation’s need for strong and resilient ports and supply chains. Including the new Maritime Transportation System Emergency Relief Program in the FY21 NDAA bill is a definitive statement by our federal policymakers about the criticality of America’s ports and how essential they are in keeping the goods we need and depend on moving, whatever the circumstances or calamities that may impact them. We hope that Congress passes this proposal soon, and that President Trump signs it into law.”
The NDAA also includes language to raise the authorised funding level for the Port Infrastructure Development Programme (PIDP) to US$750m annually, up from US$500m. PIDP grants help improve port and freight infrastructure to ensure the nation’s future freight transportation needs will be met.
“AAPA thanks House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) for their stalwart support and hard-fought efforts to protect and ensure the viability of our nation’s ports. They are the true champions of the emergency relief program for ports in the NDAA,” said Mr. Connor. He added: “Our next steps are to strongly advocate that Congress pass this bill and then appropriate funds to this new emergency relief program in the next COVID-19 relief package.”