On Wednesday, Congressman Bill Huizenga, Co-Chair of the U.S. House Great Lakes Task Force, testified before the House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee on the importance of properly using funds collected in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and water infrastructure across the Great Lakes. Congressman Huizenga discussed the strong bipartisan effort he has led to hold Washington accountable and make the federal government live up to its promise of dredging harbors across the Great Lakes. Huizenga also warned of the negative economic consequences including fewer jobs and fewer American products being exported should the federal government fail to live up to its obligation.
Harbors and navigation channels are a vital part of our nation’s transportation infrastructure and a reduction in their capacity can have significant impacts on local communities. The inefficiencies resulting from poorly maintained harbors drive up the cost of U.S. exports and imports, which threatens U.S. economic growth. We can’t sell more Made-in-America products if they can’t leave our harbors. While many transportation infrastructure programs are struggling to identify beneficiary-paid revenue streams to meet their needs, maritime commerce has been paying enough to meet the operations and maintenance needs of all federally-authorized harbors for decades.
During my first year in Congress, our ports and navigation channels were maintained with just 47% of the revenue collected into the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. Having a 74% target for fiscal year 2018 shows just how far we have come. This funding is especially vital for the 140 federally maintained commercial and recreational ports and harbors in the Great Lakes - many of which are facing a crisis. However, 92 of these harbors have not been federally maintained in many years because of a lack of funding. At the same time, the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund has a balance of nearly $10 billion.
Instead of increasing the balance of the Trust Fund or spending the money elsewhere, I urge you to dedicate harbor maintenance tax revenue for its intended purpose. Enough Harbor Maintenance Tax revenue is collected each year to meet the nation’s annual authorized harbor maintenance needs for harbors of all sizes in all regions of our country - from the Pacific Northwest to the Gulf Coast and from the Port of Long Beach to Muskegon, Michigan in my district.
Last night, I toured the Capitol with 7th and 8th grade students from Borculo Christian School. It's both encouraging and heartwarming to see the looks of wonder and hear the questions students have about our government and the history of the United States Capitol!
It was great to meet with students from Grant High School this afternoon to talk about their goals and future ambitions. The students are visiting Capitol Hill as part of the Close Up - Washington D.C. Educational Programs. I hope you enjoy your time in the nation's capital!
Good morning! The latest issue of the Huizenga Huddle is out. This edition I discuss the importance of the Financial CHOICE Act, adopting President Reagan's mindset about working together to strengthen our economy, and assisting West Michigan veterans.
This morning I joined Varney & Co. to discuss how the Financial CHOICE Act and pro-growth tax reform will strengthen our economy. We need to have a regulatory structure and tax code that encourages innovation, small business job creation, and allows hardworking Americans greater opportunity to achieve financial independence. That is how we will grow our economy and create good-paying jobs!
What a great day! 43 people from 22 countries across the globe made the decision and put in the work to become American citizens today in Grand Haven. Congratulations to every one of you and special thanks to Loutit District Library for hosting this momentous event!