Action Needed: Inland Port and Terminal Grant Program
I would like to share with you some disturbing news I learned out of Washington – and then let you know my plan of attack, and request your help.
In the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 (budget that ended the government shutdown) signed on February 14th, Maritime Administration’s budget was outlined in the link below. Bullet points are:
- $300,000,000 to maintain and preserve U.S. flag merchant fleet;
- $149,442,222 for the operations of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy;
- Of which, $7,000,000 reserved for America’s Marine Highways
- $345,200,000 for the National Defense Reserve Fleet;
- $20,000,000 for small shipyard grants,
- $5,000,000 for disposal of obsolete vessels;
- $3,000,000 for administrative expenses;
- $200,000,000 for the Port Infrastructure Development Program
Even more disturbing is that the Port Infrastructure Development Program excludes inland ports, more specifically, it states: “projects eligible for funding provided under this heading shall be projects for coastal seaports”.
Simply stated, Inland ports and terminals are NOT on a level-playing field in terms of federal funding opportunities.
I would like to point out that in viewing the map of facilities on the map (found here: https://www.irpt.net/river-basins/) that there are over 300 inland facilities (private and public) that could benefit from federal funding assistance for infrastructure improvements and that simply $7,000,000 of over a Billion dollar budget, simply is not acceptable.
So to move forward, IRPT is requesting Congress authorize and appropriate an Inland Port and Terminal Grant Program to level the competitive playing field. You can access IRPT’s House request here and IRPT’s Senate request here. Mirrored much like the small shipyard grant program, the inland port and terminal program would:
- Be administered by Maritime Administration;
- Adhere to 60 day submission and 120 day award distribution;
- Include both private and public facilities;
At the same time, the inland port and terminal program would differ from small shipyards in that:
- Funds may be used to construct buildings, physical facilities, purchase equipment, etc.
And unlike the Marine Highways program, the inland port and terminal grant program would:
- Extend to both private and public entities;
- May be used for landslide infrastructure (facility river, road and rail)
- Extend to bulk (liquid and dry) commodities;
And further, unlike TIGER, INFRA and BUILD, the inland port and terminal grant program would eliminate the minimum project floor amount of $5 million. Inland facilities cannot compete for funding in INFRA, BUILD, TIGER, etc. because the project minimum is far too high. Infrastructure projects sought by inland facilities are far less costly than the minimum required for those programs.
In order to move this proposed bill forward, I am asking for you to submit a letter of encouragement to your Senator and your Representative supporting the introduction, passage and authorization of the proposal submitted by IRPT.
For your consideration, please access the one-pager of the Inland Port and Terminal Grant Program. My goal is to submit a bipartisan proposal in both a House and Senate version for passage.
May I please request a letter of support from you to help move this piece forward? For your consideration, a draft letter of support can be found here:
If you could please email me your letter, I am tallying the letters sent to include a copy in my final package.
Aimee Andres, AMPE
Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals, Inc.
One Confluence Way
East Alton, IL 62024