• DATVF.ATLPHL
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    0.021
    1.2%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
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    0.6%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
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    0.021
    2.5%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.494
    0.002
    0.1%
  • DATVF.SEALAX
    1.058
    0.159
    17.7%
  • DATVF.PHLCHI
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    5.8%
  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    1.970
    -0.078
    -3.8%
  • DATVF.VEU
    1.539
    0.028
    1.9%
  • DATVF.VNU
    1.411
    0.027
    2%
  • DATVF.VSU
    1.180
    0.012
    1%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.514
    0.041
    2.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    10,016.780
    -142.550
    -1.4%
  • OTRI.USA
    4.690
    -0.070
    -1.5%
  • OTVI.USA
    10,011.750
    -139.810
    -1.4%
  • TLT.USA
    2.420
    0.000
    0%
  • WAIT.USA
    150.000
    0.000
    0%
  • DATVF.ATLPHL
    1.717
    0.021
    1.2%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
    1.933
    0.011
    0.6%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
    0.865
    0.021
    2.5%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.494
    0.002
    0.1%
  • DATVF.SEALAX
    1.058
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    17.7%
  • DATVF.PHLCHI
    0.967
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    5.8%
  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    1.970
    -0.078
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  • DATVF.VEU
    1.539
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  • DATVF.VNU
    1.411
    0.027
    2%
  • DATVF.VSU
    1.180
    0.012
    1%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.514
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  • ITVI.USA
    10,016.780
    -142.550
    -1.4%
  • OTRI.USA
    4.690
    -0.070
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  • OTVI.USA
    10,011.750
    -139.810
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  • TLT.USA
    2.420
    0.000
    0%
  • WAIT.USA
    150.000
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American ShipperInfrastructure

DeFazio urges near-term passage of infrastructure bill

House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio highlighted the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and gas tax as critical issues that must be addressed.

   Calling the United States’ infrastructure situation a crisis, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., on Tuesday said congressional advancement of broad infrastructure legislation can’t wait until the 2020 presidential election.
   One U.S. infrastructure matter that must be addressed is the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), DeFazio said, which has outlays that are dispersed through the annual U.S. appropriations process and are not keeping pace with the amount of Harbor Maintenance Taxes (HMT) collected.
   He said he will push for passage this Congress of similar legislation he introduced last Congress that would have authorized spending directly from the HMTF without a formal appropriation.
   The Trump administration’s federal budget for fiscal year 2019, released Sept. 30, 2018, estimated the HMTF balance as $9.4 billion and estimates the balance will rise to $9.9 billion by Sept. 30, 2019.
   During a U.S. Chamber of Commerce infrastructure summit on Tuesday, DeFazio indicated he’s more optimistic his legislation will pass the House this time around, after the departure of former Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who blocked DeFazio’s recent HMTF legislation.
   DeFazio noted that 59 of the United States’ largest harbors are at 40 percent of authorized depths and capacity, with jetties crumbling, leaving U.S. ports unprepared for bigger ships expected to dock in future years.
   “We’ll be getting the leftover tramp steamers pretty soon if we don’t make the investments we need in our harbors because the big ships won’t be able to navigate here,” he said.
   Contributing to the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure is the fact that the federal gas tax hasn’t been raised since 1993, even though about three dozen states have raised their gas tax, DeFazio noted.
   DeFazio mentioned his proposal last year to raise gas taxes, which would have capped increases at 1.5 cents yearly, and he noted that a 2-cent-per-year raise could allow the tranching of enough bonds over 13 years to dedicate $600 billion of new investment toward infrastructure.
   Broad legislation to update the nation’s infrastructure “has got to happen, and it’s a bipartisan issue,” DeFazio said.      “People say, ‘Well aren’t you concerned you’ll give the president a victory?’ I say, ‘No, I’m not going to give him a victory.’ I say, ‘This is for all Americans — Republican, Democrat, independent. It’s for the future of the country, and he can’t claim all the credit since [Republicans] had total control for two years and did nothing.”

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Brian Bradley

Based in Washington, D.C., Brian covers international trade policy for American Shipper and FreightWaves. In the past, he covered nuclear defense, environmental cleanup, crime, sports, and trade at various industry and local publications.
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