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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Bolster Resiliency of U.S. Ports

On May 7, Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO), and Chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Salud Carbajal (D-CA) introduced legislation to help ensure U.S. ports are resilient to extreme weather events, including sea-level rise and flooding. The bill also increases the percentage of funding set aside for inland ports to assist ports with infrastructure projects.

Specifically, this bill:

  • Creates a funding eligibility within the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) for port infrastructure projects that reduce the overall carbon footprint from port operations;
  • Increases the set aside for inland river and small ports from 18% to 25% — such funds can be used for capital improvements to improve the movement of goods; acquire, repair, and maintain port equipment; and develop port improvement projects;
  • Adds additional selection considerations for projects that address hazards to port infrastructure such as sea-level rise, flooding, and extreme weather events;
  • Outlines resilience projects as those anticipating, adapting to, and recovering from disruptions to port infrastructure and vital operations; and
  • Makes technical corrections within PIDP to clarify inland ports mean inland river ports.

“Like so much of our nation’s infrastructure, our ports are years, even decades behind the times, which affects our global competitiveness in the maritime sector. This bipartisan legislation—which will help reduce carbon pollution and ensure our ports are resilient to events related to climate change—is a key part of the solution,” Chair DeFazio said. “As Congress gears up for an active year tackling our country’s crumbling infrastructure, we must ensure port upgrades are part of the conversation, and I thank Chair Carbajal and Ranking Member Graves for joining me in introducing this legislation that makes sure America’s ports aren’t left behind.”

“Projects that focus on improving the efficiency and resiliency of our transportation network make a lot of sense and can help maximize the value of every available dollar for infrastructure investment,” Ranking Member Graves said.  “This bill shows a bipartisan commitment to investing in port infrastructure that not only improves supply chain efficiency, but also improves resilience to floods and extreme weather events. With more frequent flooding along the Missouri River, my constituents and the communities in my district understand the importance of building more resilient infrastructure.  In addition, the bill sets aside one-quarter of the grant funds for small coastal and inland river ports – the kinds of facilities that are crucial parts of the supply chain but often lack the resources to finance their infrastructure improvements.”

“The successful Port Infrastructure Development Program (PDIP) has made our ports more efficient, reliable, and safe,” Chair Carbajal said. “We can and should enhance the PIDP program, so it is better suited to address the challenges of our time. This bipartisan bill will create jobs, make our ports more resilient to climate change, and reduce carbon pollution so the maritime sector is part of the climate solution.”

Read the full text of the bill

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