NIT League urges Senate to reconsider container tax plan
The National Industrial Transportation League, based in Arlington, Va., has written to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee to oppose a potential amendment to a bill that would result in the imposition of a tax on shipping containers to finance antiterrorism port security measures.
The NIT League said Friday its executive vice president, Peter Gatti, has written to Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and ranking committee member Robert Byrd, D-W.V., to say the league supports measures to strengthen U.S. security, but “is strongly opposed to any plan to impose fees and penalties on the maritime industry to finance programs that benefit the nation as a whole.”
The focus of the league’s action was Senate floor consideration of the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill. The NIT League acted after learning of the potential for an amendment to that bill that would increase port security fees, including the imposition of a container tax.
“Homeland security is a national responsibility, and should not be funded through additional fees on maritime commerce,” the NIT League said in a Sept. 9 letter to the senators.
The NIT League said any amendment that would impose a fee or tax on maritime commerce “should be subject to deliberate consideration, and should not be the subject of a last-minute amendment that is offered without consultation with the industry and without an opportunity to comment on the measure.”
However, the continuing problem for the U.S. port industry is that it has been landed with billions of dollars in additional expenditures under the mandatory Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, while the Bush administration and Congress have provided port grants that cover only a fraction of the cost involved.