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PORTS + POLITICS: Maritime Infrastructure Needs Regular Investment

In many ways, our nation’s 300+ ports – from the largest ports in Seattle, Long Beach and Savannah, to small ports in rural communities up and down our coastlines and along our rivers – are the workhorses of the infrastructure world.

* By Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) *

When people hear the phrase “infrastructure investment,” they may think of a new bridge or highway. They may think of relief for the congestion plaguing their daily commute or repairs to a well-worn road. Indeed, building roads and bridges is a critical piece of improving our nation’s infrastructure, but it only tells part of the story of our economy and our nation’s ability to move goods across the country and around the globe.

That’s where ports come in. In many ways, our nation’s 300+ ports – from the largest ports in Seattle, Long Beach, and Savannah, to small ports in rural communities up and down our coastlines and along our rivers – are the workhorses of the infrastructure world. Most of the public may not realize the utility of ports, yet port activity affects everyone by supporting millions of family-wage jobs and driving 26 percent of our nation’s economy. And just like the bridges and highways that allow cars and freight to move across our country, our maritime infrastructure needs regular investment to ensure ports keep pace with the demands of our economy. Recent estimates put port-related infrastructure needs at $66 billion over the next decade alone.

That’s why I am committed to ensuring the federal government is a good partner to ports, and building on strong partnerships with freight stakeholders, the private sector, local and state governments, and more. It’s common sense. Supporting our ports has a significant return on the dollar, so what’s good for ports is also good for our economy and for the millions of men and women who work at U.S. ports, transport our goods, and send products overseas and across the United States.

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