(Extensions of Remarks - May 23, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E748]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                            HON. JANICE HAHN

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                         Thursday, May 23, 2013

  Ms. HAHN. Mr. Speaker, our ports are a vital part of our nation's 
economy. They move more than 2.3 billion tons of cargo a year in the 
United States, generating economic activity that touches every 
Congressional district in the country.
  Our ports are more than just gateways, they are engines--for the 
economy and for jobs.
  Unfortunately, our nation's ports and harbors are severely under-
dredged and under-maintained. According to a recent report by the 
American Association of Port Authorities, full channel dimensions are 
available less than 35% of the time.
  We need to keep our ports strong. And so in 1986, we came up with a 
way to fund strong, fully dredged and well maintained ports and 
harbors, by assessing a tax on the goods imported through U.S. ports. 
That Harbor Maintenance Tax collects roughly $1.6 billion a year: 
plenty of money to keep our ports and harbors the best in the world.
  Yet as our ports suffer from historic under-dredging and lack of 
investment, we continue to spend only half of the funds we collect with 
the Harbor Maintenance Tax on maintaining our harbors.
  We have an $8 billion dollar surplus sitting in the Harbor 
Maintenance Trust Fund. That's outrageous.
  When our ports have such a clear need, when we have such a desperate 
need for the jobs that the work of dredging and modernizing out ports 
would create, it is scandalous that we will not fully utilize the funds 
we have collected for that very purpose.
  I am introducing this resolution because we need to fully utilize the 
Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. The wind in Congress is shifting, and I 
believe that we will pass legislation to achieve that. The Army Corps 
of Engineers needs to prepare to put people to work fixing our ports 
the day after the President signs that bill into law.