Showing posts with label ports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ports. Show all posts
Senator Barbara Boxer (CA) chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee which is charged with overseeing, as you might guess, environmental and infrastructure issues.

Wednesday the Committee held a hearing entitled, "Water Resources Development Act: Legislative and Policy Proposals to Benefit the Economy, Create Jobs, Protect Public Safety and Maintain America’s Water Resources Infrastructure."

Boxer's prepared opening statement is below. Click here for prepared testimony from the expert panels.

Today’s hearing will examine proposals for maintaining our ports, keeping our waterways open for commerce, protecting our citizens from storms and floods, and restoring our most precious ecosystems.

This is the second hearing held by the EPW Committee as we continue to develop the next Water Resources Development Act. The projects included in WRDA are vitally important to keeping our communities safe and our economy moving.

Prior to 2007, WRDA had not been passed in seven years, but we built overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate to enact the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 over President Bush’s veto. That bill allowed many critical projects across the country to proceed.

I look forward to working with Senator Inhofe and colleagues on both sides of the aisle to develop the next Water Resources Development Act.

The projects, policies, and programs authorized in WRDA are essential components of creating jobs and keeping our economy growing.

For example, today we will hear about proposals to increase investment in our nation’s ports and inland waterway navigation channels. Ensuring our port and inland waterway infrastructure is adequately maintained is absolutely critical to the nation’s economic success. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, in 2008, U.S. ports handled over $1.6 trillion in commerce and U.S. ports and waterways moved nearly 2.5 billion tons of cargo.

Maintaining our ports is especially important in my home state of California. The ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland are among the top ten ports in the nation by the amount of container cargo shipped. These and many other important California ports support economic activity representing hundreds of thousands of jobs and tens of billions dollars.

Past WRDA bills have authorized projects to build and maintain ports across the country. Now we must ensure that we invest in these projects so that our ports are properly maintained and can continue to support the billions of dollars of commerce and thousands of jobs that depend on them.

A bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation to ensure revenues collected for harbor maintenance activities are invested in our ports. I support these efforts and believe increasing investment in harbor maintenance should be a focus of the next WRDA bill.

Posted On 11/18/2010 07:37:00 AM by Larry Ehl |

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Rep. Brian Baird joined Oregon Governor Kulongoski and representatives from NW businesses and Columbia river-based ports to celebrate the completion of the Columbia river deepening project. Key points from the Columbian's coverage:

More than 1,000 Pacific Northwest businesses and farmers ship an estimated $17 billion of cargo through the Columbia River annually. And backers said more than 40,000 jobs in the region depend directly on commerce along the river, while tens of thousands more jobs have been created indirectly from shipping operations along the river.

The project enabled The Port of Vancouver port to attract an export operation that could generate at least 60 jobs and millions of dollars in revenue for other port ventures.

Patrick Bryan, vice president of the Kalama Export Company, said a deeper Columbia River enables his company to add up to 10 percent more grain cargo per vessel. “We are ready to use it today,” he said.

Randy Uhrich, past president of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers, said his industry ships “85 percent to 90 percent of our wheat to foreign markets” and that a deeper navigation channel will increase his industry’s competitiveness in world market.

Deepening the shipping channel from 40 feet to 43 feet along the 103 miles between Portland-Vancouver and the Pacific Ocean involved complicated engineering and technical work, dredging crews and underwater explosives.

"Long journey to deeper Columbia River ends," The Colombian
"Oregon, Washington officials praise completion of Columbia River dredging," Oregonian

Posted On 10/25/2010 12:00:00 PM by Larry Ehl |

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Seven ports received $95 million (17%) of the $557 TIGER II awarded funding.
"The percentage of funding to ports for TIGER II grants is more than twice as much as in the first round of Tiger grants and moves us closer to the 25% of overall TIGER funding we believe is appropriate,” said the president of the American Association of Port Authorities, Kurt Nagle.
The awarded port grants are:
  • $10 million for the Port of Vancouver, WA
  • $13.6 million to Oregon’s Coos Bay to rehabilitate its rail link
  • $16 million to Port of Los Angeles for an intermodal rail yard
  • $22.8 million for Port of Miami to establish an intermodal container rail service
  • $13 million for a Mississippi River terminal in Cates Landing, Tennessee
  • $10.5 million for barge cranes and renewable energy power generation in Providence, Rhode Island
  • $9 million to support a new box terminal in Port Manatee, Florida

Posted On 10/25/2010 05:00:00 AM by Larry Ehl |

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The House's draft authorization bill proposes to increase funding to major metro areas. The Metropolitan Mobility program was created “to provide multimodal transportation funding and financing directly to [metropolitan planning organizations] over 500,000 in population.” MPOs would have to develop a metropolitan mobility plan for approval by the U.S. DOT and carry out congestion-management programs. The federal share of the program projects would be 80 percent. No more than 10 grants comprising 40 percent of the program funds would be issued to areas with populations greater than 1 million. The remaining funds would have to be distributed with geographic equity.

The Brookings Institute, an advocate for investment in urban transportation systems, examines the role of urban/metro exports and the impact on economic and job growth (“Export Nation: How U.S. Metros Lead National Export Growth and Boost Competitiveness”).

Brookings notes that:
“Metropolitan areas produce 84 percent of the nation’s exports, making them the points of leverage for scaling up trade with the wider world. The 100 largest metropolitan areas alone account for over 64 percent of the nation’s exports, including 75 percent of its service exports.”
Brookings analyzes and reports on 100 metro areas, including Seattle/Tacoma, Portland (though it’s not apparent that the Port of Vancouver was included), and Boise.

Brookings created the Metropolitan Policy Program in 1996 "to provide decision makers with timely trend analysis, cutting-edge research and policy ideas for improving the health and prosperity of cities and metropolitan areas."

Related stories:
Murray, Cantwell Introduce Freight Legislation
LaHood: leverage investments to increase exports
Patty Murray: committed to strengthening freight transportation system
President gives details on Nat'l Export Initiative

Posted On 7/28/2010 10:00:00 AM by Larry Ehl |

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The Ports of Seattle, Tacoma, Portland and three other major West Coast container ports offer US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke a number of suggestions for improving the Administration's National Export Initiative:
  • Increase representation of freight transportation industry in the effort;
  • Advocate for formulation of a national freight movement program;
  • Work to address shortage in export containers & ship capacity;
  • Utilize foreign markets logistics experts to increase US market share.
Those six ports handle two-thirds of US international trade and employ 145,000 people directly or indirectly.  Nationwide, exports account for 40% of US real GDP growth since 2005.

WSDOT is keenly interested in freight mobility because WA is the most trade-dependent state in the country. One result is that intermodal and highway preservation, maintenance and strategic improvements play an important role in WA's economy. Local agencies also are interested: Final delivery of goods produces up to 80 percent of truck trips in urban areas in WA state.

Global Gateways : International and national trade flowing through Washington amounts to over 477 million tons of freight (all modes). Almost $67 billion of goods were exported in 2008.

Made in Washington: Our state's manufacturers, agribusiness, construction and forestry sectors depend on freight systems and produced over 627,000 jobs and $184 billion in revenue, representing 29 percent of all state revenue in 2008.

Delivering goods to you: Final delivery of goods produces up to 80 percent of truck trips in urban areas. Washington's retail and wholesale trade distribution system supported more than 739,000 jobs and accounted for $262 billion in revenue (42 percent of total revenue in the state) in 2008.

Senator Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have introduced legislation to improve the nation's freight infrastructure.

West Coast Ports on NEI

Posted On 7/27/2010 05:00:00 AM by Larry Ehl | 0 comments

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(Updated with link to bill.)

The FREIGHT Act (Focusing Resources, Economic Investment, and Guidance to Help Transportation Act of 2010) has been introduced by WA's Senators along with Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey.

The Environmental Defense Fund, Transportation for America, an influential public-private freight coaltion (CAGTC) and the National Railroad Construction Association expressed support for the bill.

The goals of the bill include:
  • reducing the environmental impacts of freight transportation;
  • decreasing congestion and delays;
  • increasing the efficiency and timely delivery of goods and services; and
  • reducing freight-related transportation accidents and fatalities.

The bill also would create a competitive grant program for freight-specific port, freight rail and highway projects similar to the current TIGER grant program,require establishing a national policy for freight movement, and encourage multimodal transportation.

An influential national coalition of freight interests expressed support for the bill. The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) is a diverse coalition of more than 60 organizations dedicated to increasing federal investment in America’s intermodal freight infrastructure. In contrast to single mode interests, CAGTC’s main mission is to promote a seamless goods movement transportation system across all modes to enhance capacity and economic growth. WA State members include WSDOT and the Ports of Vancouver, Seattle and Tacoma.

CAGTC news release
Senate Bill Calls for National Freight Policy, Journal of Commerce
Sen. Frank Lautenberg news release

Posted On 7/23/2010 11:00:00 AM by Larry Ehl | 0 comments

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The Port of Tacoma and other freight interests discussed the need for a dedicated national freight policy in testimony to the House Appropriations subcommittee, in a hearing on "Strengthening Intermodal Connections & Improving Freight Mobility."
"John Wolfe, executive director of the port of Tacoma, called for a holistic approach to freight transportation, and a “freight trust fund” that would disburse money for projects that facilitated freight movement, and be awarded through competitive grants. ("Ports, Shippers Push for Freight Policy," The Journal of Commerce.)

Wolfe said the U.S. and state departments of transportation should work with freight stakeholders to develop a strategic plan for freight movement, with funds dedicated to freight mobility projects, and establish a multi-modal freight office within the U.S. Department of Transportation. Wolfe represented the American Association of Port Authorities."  
Read Wolfe's submitted testimony.

Other submitted testimony is available at the committee's website (scroll down to "3/16/10 Hearing- Transportation, HUD Subcommittee).

Posted On 3/18/2010 03:13:00 PM by Larry Ehl | 0 comments

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Chicago train yard
The Midwest High Speed Rail blog highlights a story about CREATE (Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program), a $3 billion program of Chicago-area rail improvements that would also benefit the ports and businesses of WA state:

Chicago Business Today provides some perspective on the CREATE program and the funding challenges for completing each of its 71 projects (formerly 78 projects until CN acquired the EJ&E railway).

CREATE's $3 billion grand total has thus far acquired funding from:
  • Class I railroads ($232 million collectively committed, half has been received)
  • State of Illinois ($10 million received and an additional $400 million committed from the capital construction program, which is now in doubt with the state's budget woes)
  • Federal Stimulus funds ($100 million TIGER Grant and $133 million for Englewood Flyover)
  • 2005 Congressional earmark ($100 million) [SAFETEA-LU] 

Posted On 3/15/2010 01:00:00 PM by Larry Ehl | 0 comments

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Sam Kaplan of the Trade Development Alliance provides a thoughtful and local perspective on the President's National Export Initiative (NEI), announced in the State of the Union. It reminded me that I'd been meaning to do a story on this issue, given its likely impact on WA state and transportation.

Kaplan notes that for "Washington state and the Puget Sound area, this could be a boon for our economy. Our state already exports more per capita than any other state in the country. It’s true that Boeing planes account for a lot of those exports but it’s also true that these stats don’t count services and software is a service so in many ways our exports are undercounted."

If there any port representatives reading this, I'd welcome your comments on some of the possible impacts of, and issues with, the initiative. The American Association of Port Authorities doesn't appear to have a news release about NEI, but is "'Concerned' Over FY'11 Federal Budget."

The goal of the Initiative is to double American exports over the next five years and support 2 million jobs here at home. According to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, the NEI "will increase funding for export promotion, put more emphasis on advocating for U.S. exporters’ interests overseas and create an Export Promotion Cabinet. The effort also calls for providing more access to credit for exporters by increasing funding for the Export Import Bank from $4 to $6 billion to be chiefly aimed at small and medium size businesses."

The Commerce Department released more information on Feb. 4th.

Posted On 2/08/2010 04:00:00 PM by Larry Ehl |

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In an early November letter to congressional leaders the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) "urged members on both sides of the aisle to make authorization of a multi-year surface transportation bill a key legislative priority for 2010."

AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle also commented that "Among the changes needed in the next surface transportation bill is establishment of a national freight program, including investments in funding for projects and corridors of national and regional significance, intermodal freight connectors, and greater use of our marine highways. AAPA also supports an improved project delivery process, investments in freight rail, and establishment of a multimodal freight office that reports directly to the Office of the Secretary at the United States Department of Transportation to coordinate the oversight of the freight transportation system."

Posted On 11/30/2009 05:35:00 PM by Larry Ehl | 0 comments

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