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PORTS + POLITICS: Finding MTS Support Information in the Federal Government

There are a bevy of products and services provided by your federal partners that often go unrecognized, but could enhance your market and operational observations.

* By Helen Brohl, Executive Director, U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System *

After almost 13 years as the executive director of the U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS), I’ve observed there are a bevy of products and services provided by your federal partners that often go unrecognized, but could enhance your market and operational observations.

The CMTS was established in 2004 and authorized in law in 2012 to establish and support a partnership of the 25-plus federal agencies that are directly or indirectly engaged in the Marine Transportation System (MTS). The CMTS seeks to enhance the areas of:

  • Navigation safety
  • Maritime security
  • Infrastructure investment
  • Data interoperability
  • MTS resilience
  • Innovative science and technology
  • Military to mariner transition

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) actively keeps its members informed about federal port-related funding sources and mechanisms, including funding from DOT, HUD, DHS, EPA and others. For those who may appreciate a primer on federal port and maritime-related funding sources, the CMTS produces and updates a “Federal Funding Handbook to the Marine Transportation System.”1 This handbook is a directory of 80-plus authorized federal multimodal transportation infrastructure funding, financing and technical assistance programs for infrastructure projects that may apply to the MTS.

In 2015, the CMTS published a report entitled, “Compendium of Public-Private Partnership (P3s) Authorities for Infrastructure Investment.” This still-valid report discusses the nature of P3s and is a collection of the statutory authorities and language for P3 investments within eight federal agencies. It also addresses some of the commonalities and differences among the various authorities and how the federal government enters into various types of P3 relationships.

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