House Appropriations Committee Approves Port and Seaway Funds

By Christi Kleiner  |  Latest News, Ports & Terminals
On June 30, the House Appropriations Committee voted to approve  the FY2023 Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill (THUD). The legislation funds key federal programs of interest to Great Lakes ports for the coming fiscal year, which begins on October 1st.

Port Infrastructure 
The bill includes $300 million for the Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP), which provides federal assistance to port authorities and other local agencies for projects that enhance the movement of goods. The legislation specifically urges the Biden Administration to prioritize port electrification projects to reduce air emissions.

For reference, the PIDP program was funded at $234.3 million last year. The President’s FY2023 budget requested $230 million and AGLPA endorsed an appropriation of $750 million – the full authorized amount. It is important to keep in mind that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) included an additional $450 million a year over five years (FY22-26) for the program. These IIJA funds are in addition to regular appropriations.

St. Lawrence Seaway
The legislation provides $41.5 million for the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (GLS) for FY2023. This compares to $38 million provided to the agency last year. The Biden Administration had asked for $38.5 million in its FY2023 budget.

Of the amounts provided, $4 million is specifically earmarked for expansion of trade and market development activities at the U.S. Seaway. These funds are to be expended in cooperation with system stakeholders (such as ports). To date the agency has received $5 million from Congress over the last three years to enhance trade and market development. To guide deployment of these funds, in August of 2021, the agency released a trade and economic development strategic plan focused on: 1) raising system awareness; 2) promoting Great Lakes cruising; and 3) improving business intelligence. Special thanks to Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) for championing the additional Seaway funding.

The legislation also directs the agency to complete work on a report  requested by Congress last year to analyze the opportunities and challenges related to harmonizing the opening and closing dates of the Seaway locks with the Soo Locks.

 

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