September 10, 2021

Wyden Calls for Bolstered Ports Infrastructure Funding in Upcoming Build Back Better Bill to Address Congestion

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden today called for at least $2.5 billion in funding to address port congestion in the upcoming Build Back Better bill as a critical step to the success of ports -- a major economic engine and vital to job creation in Oregon and nationwide.

“We write to urge your support for addressing port congestion through funding the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP). We ask that you provide at least $2.5 billion in reconciliation for MARAD’s PIDP to fund port infrastructure needed to improve freight mobility, address port congestion, and improve port competitiveness,” Wyden wrote in a letter along with eight other senators to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Our nation’s ports provide critical connections between waterways, highways, pipelines, and railroads. Waterborne vessels moved 41 percent of freight value in 2019, over $1.7 trillion. Cargo activities at U.S. ports on our coasts and Great Lakes account for 26 percent of the U.S. economy, generating nearly $5.4 trillion in total economic activity and more than $378 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2018. U.S. ports also generate 30,770,769 jobs.”

“Investments to modernize ports so they can handle bigger ships and address congestion at ports is critical to the American economy,” the senators wrote. “By 2037, the United States is projected to export more than 52 million shipping containers through U.S. seaports each year. Further, by 2045 port infrastructure investments could produce economy-wide returns of between $2 and $3 per every $1 spent, after adjusting for inflation.”

In addition to Wyden, other senators signing the letter led by U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) are  U.S. Sens. Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

The full text of the letter is here.