U.S. President Biden holds infrastructure event

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about his $2 trillion infrastructure plan during an event to tout the plan at Carpenters Pittsburgh Training Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 31, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Biden’s Infrastructure Proposal Includes $17 Billion for Ports and Waterways

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1254
April 2, 2021

President Biden on Wednesday announced a more than $2 trillion jobs-creating infrastructure proposal which the administration says will add millions of jobs and position the United States to out-compete China.

“It’s a once-in-a-generation investment in America, unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago,” Biden said in unveiling the The American Jobs Plan.

According to a fact sheet released by the White, the proposal includes a request to Congress for an additional $17 billion investment in the nation’s inland waterways, coastal ports, land ports of entry, and ferries. Details of who gets what and how much was not determined, but the request did include a Healthy Ports program to mitigate the cumulative impacts of air pollution on neighborhoods near ports, which the fact sheet notes are often communities of color.

The proposal is set for a big battle in Congress. It would put be paid for by increasing the corporate tax rate and change the tax code to close loopholes that allow companies to move profits overseas.

“The American Maritime Partnership commends the Biden Administration’s proposal to increase investment in our ports and waterways and bolster the U.S. maritime industry, which is critical to our nation’s economic, homeland and national security,” said Michael Roberts, President of the American Maritime Partnership, which advocates for U.S.-flag maritime interests in Washington.

Dr. Sal Mercogliano, an Associate Professor of History at Campbell University, is a former merchant mariner, naval historian and expert in maritime affairs. He says the proposal is a good start, but more needs to be done in terms of the nation’s maritime strategy.

“The President plan to invest $17 billion in the nations ports and waterways is essential to alleviate backlogs and improve the nation’s vital supply chain. Yet, such an investment is only a start and needs to be tied to a large and comprehensive national maritime strategy to make the nation more competitive in international trade and against competing domestic modes of transportation, such as truck, rail, and pipelines,” said Dr. Mercogliano.

Separately from the infrastructure plan, the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, which is still without an appointed Administrator, this week announced that $230 million in grants has been made available to states and port authorities to strengthen and modernize the nation’s ports. Transportation Department Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced the funding this week at a White House event focused on the development of offshore wind energy programs.

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