The International Liquid Terminals Association supports calls from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure that President Biden request in his fiscal year 2022 budget the full disbursement of the $10 billion balance in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.

The committee asked that at minimum, Biden’s fiscal 2022 budget request provide the $2 billion in HMTF allocations called for in the 2020 Water Development Resources Act (WRDA) for the coming year.

“ILTA echoes the call of Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and ranking member Sam Graves, R-Mo., of the House T&I Committee for requesting complete disbursement in fiscal 2022 of the $10 billion available in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund,” Kathryn Clay, president of the ILTA said. “ILTA has long encouraged full use of these funds to make needed investments in our nation’s ports and harbors.”

Clay said the U.S.’s ports and waterways are essential channels for trade and interstate commerce. Most of ILTA’s terminals are connected to waterways, which help facilitate movement of essential products internationally and domestically.

“For decades, maintenance and upgrades to critical port and waterway infrastructure have been woefully underfunded,” she said. “We need to put the trust fund to work now to make up for the time we have lost and to position ourselves for the future.”

Though the WRDA law authorizes a draw-down of the HMTF over the next decade, the amount in the fund continues to sit idle, Clay pointed out. “The fund is derived from fees collected through the harbor maintenance tax on imparted cargo. But instead of using the fund as envisioned — to help the Army Corps of Engineers make much-needed repairs to critical water infrastructure — Congress has diverted revenues to pay for unrelated activities,” she said.

Clay said the budget request is a simple and important way to improve U.S. infrastructure, a central campaign promise of the Biden administration.