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JAX Chamber and JAXPORT applaud Congressional Delegation for support of Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund

May 15, 2012

Local leaders advocate for Congress to include HMTF in Transportation Bill

The JAX Chamber and Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) applaud the Northeast Florida Congressional Delegation for its commitment and actions related to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), legislation that supports the development of ports by requiring the full use of these funds for their intended, critical purpose: the maintenance of the nation’s federal shipping channels.

“Ports and the efficient movement of goods are the foundation of our nation’s economy,” said JAXPORT CEO Paul Anderson. “Our elected officials are now recognizing the importance of our ports and the critical need to invest in port development. They stand unified behind this legislation that will ensure we can fulfill our mission and support the growth of jobs and positive economic benefit.”

Harbor maintenance is a basic, on going need for any port. The HMTF, funded by users of the harbor, was created to ensure that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had the revenue to conduct maintenance dredging of the channels, manage material disposal areas, jetties and other maintenance-related projects.

Although the HMTF is expected to grow to more than $7 billion in fiscal year 2012, the funds necessary to maintain harbors are not fully allocated.  By not appropriating the proper resources needed to maintain port infrastructure, ports will lose thousands of jobs and trade will move to other venues.

With the port of Jacksonville as one of the Chamber’s top priorities, the organization is diligently advocating for funding improvements that will lead to significant job creation. “It’s difficult to imagine a better use for federal dollars in our Northeast Florida regional economy,” said JAX Chamber President Wally Lee. “We are grateful for our congressional members’ leadership in obtaining funds.”

“Our port is an economic engine for high-wage jobs and investment in our region,” said Charley Hood, chair of the JAX Chamber’s Public Policy Committee and vice president of public affairs at Rayonier. “Our congressional delegation deserves praise for their efforts. We will continue to work closely with them to ensure the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is included in the overall transportation bill.”

Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have taken steps to ensure the HMTF is used for its intended purposes.  The JAX Chamber and JAXPORT are working with the delegation and various coalitions to help guarantee legislation, requiring full use of the HMTF, is included in the final Transportation bill. 

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