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Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown leads nationwide effort for port development

June 25, 2012

Mayor Alvin Brown is leading efforts to unify the voices of the nation’s mayors with a resolution asking Congress to increase appropriations from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and develop a sensible policy to help U.S. ports become more competitive in the global economy.

“Investments in our ports are investments in the economic stability of our nation,” said Mayor Brown. “As mayors, we are the CEOs of cities. We’re in touch with our cities’ economic potential and we’re asking Congress to listen. With the Panama Canal expanding and increased competition from ports in Canada and Mexico, the time to act is now.”

As chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Metro Exports and Ports Task Force, Mayor Brown led a series of meetings in Jacksonville in February to gather input and develop a resolution calling for:

  • Increased investments in port infrastructure from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, a fund established in 1986 that in recent years of under-use has been growing a surplus estimated to exceed $7 billion in FY12.
  • Development of national freight policy to identify key cargo corridors, more actively engage policy-level stakeholders such as the Commerce Department and the Small Business Administration to encourage exporting, and reduce the environmental impacts of shipping.

The resolution was adopted during the 80th annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Orlando and now becomes a major part of the Conference's congressional agenda for the coming year.

“Having the U.S. Conference of Mayors add its voice to the effort to make seaport competitiveness through strategic investment part of the national dialogue is significant,” said Jacksonville Port Authority CEO Paul Anderson, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors/American Association of Port Authorities Joint Task Force. “The mayors are sending a clear message. They each understand that no matter where in the country the city they represent is located, along the coast or in the heartland, its future economic vitality is linked to the health of our ports.”

The resolution will be distributed to all members of Congress and key federal agencies that have oversight over port maintenance and modernization.

“I want to thank Mayor Brown for his leadership in developing a national exports and ports agenda to create jobs in our cities,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

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