Policy Priorities

Major Issues Confronting Texas Ports

State

State government is a crucial partner to Texas maritime ports and plays a major role in facilitation the success of maritime industry.

Infrastructure

Continued funding in landside access and waterside infrastructure is critical to the ongoing competitiveness of Texas Ports.

Freight Mobility

The efficient movement of freight is important to the state’s economic health as well as its mobility. According to the Texas Freight Mobility Plan, in 2014 more than 2.6 billion tons of freight were moved in Texas. It is projected that between 2014 and 2040, total tonnage in Texas is expected to increase to 3.8 billion tons.

Navigation Districts are Both Government and Business

Texas ports and navigation districts are government entities that are authorized by and operate under state law. As much as we are governmental bodies, ports are enterprise entities must also function like a businesses. It is essential that navigation districts have the authorities necessary to respond to market demands and develop their facilities.

Federal

Dredging and Dredged Material Management

  • Building and maintaining cost-effective and environmentally friendly navigation channels and material placement areas for the millions of cubic yards of sediment dredged annually.
  • Ports act as sponsors of federal projects and take the lead in developing beneficial uses for the dredge material.
  • Reduced funding for the Army Corps of Engineers’ budgets for federal channel maintenance and new projects.

More Funding for Ports

  • Continued funding of the port security grant program is needed from the federal level.
  • Federal funding that includes ports as part of the overall transportation system to improve linkage with highways, rail and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW).
  • Funding to maintain and enhance port infrastructure from federal sources or public private partnership.
  • Allocations from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMT) are through the Army Corps of Engineers (Corp’s) budget, but these monies are not automatically spent on dredging projects. Spending from this account must be considered through the regular budget cycle which includes funding levels proposed through the President’s Budget and ultimately Congressional appropriations.
  • 2016 – Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) – provisions prioritize navigation projects and improve the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project management process to better deliver projects on time and on budget. The bill also promotes use of the HMT for its intended purpose.