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February 4, 2010

Marine industry coalition slams proposed Corps budget

The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Fairness Coalition is disappointed with the proposed budget of $4.887 billion for the FY 2011 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Civil Works Program.

It says the proposed budget of $4.887 billion continues to inadequately invest in the nation's water resources infrastructure, and it reflects an additional $565 million cut below what was enacted by Congress for the Corps in Fiscal Year 2010.

"The proposed cuts in investment for this nation's coastal navigation needs are critically restrained and will result in serious reductions in channel dimensions," declared Barry Holliday, Chairman of the HMTF Fairness Coalition.

The coalition also expressed its concerns over the impact the cuts will have on port and waterway safety and economic viability, and the lost opportunity for job creation. The coalition says it has expressed to the Administration and to Congress that fully using all the tax revenues annually generated by the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for the operation and maintenance of the Federal ports and waterways is critical to the economy of the nation.

"The Administration's budget ignores the declining condition of these channels, denying efficient and safe operation of ships, ferries and other commercial vessels using our federally authorized navigation projects. Further degradation in the efficiency of maritime transportation due to inadequate dredging will slow our nation's economic recovery and employment gains," Holliday said.

The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Fairness Coalition was established in 2008, to seek legislation to ensure that tax revenues annually generated by the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund are used for their intended purpose: operation and maintenance of Federal ports and waterways. Member organizations represent a broad spectrum of maritime interests, including maritime unions, shippers, carriers, ports, major trade associations, coalitions, regional port and waterway organizations, dredging contractors, and states.


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