ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 30, 2019 — The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) this week commended House lawmakers for passing a bill that would allow for full utilization of fees collected in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) for maintaining U.S. harbors and ports at their authorized depths.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, over the next decade, the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act of 2019” (H.R. 4220) would enable $34 billion deposited into the HMTF to be accessed and spent for its collected and intended purpose – namely, dredging U.S. harbors to their constructed specifications.
“The fact that more than $9 billion has been collected and deposited in the HMTF, but gone unspent for its intended purpose, is a fiscal disservice to those that pay the 0.125 percent ad valorem tax on the value of cargo imports,” said the NGFA after the House vote. “H.R. 4220 will allow those dollars to be spent on much-needed dredging at the nation’s ports to help partially restore some of the United States’ comparative transportation advantage, which is essential to capturing export market opportunities that contribute to U.S. economic growth.”
NGFA outlined its support of H.R. 2440, sponsored by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., in an Oct. 25 letter to the committee’s leadership. NGFA also encouraged its members to send letters to their members of Congress in support of the legislation. Chairman DeFazio referenced NGFA’s support for this legislation as it was debated on the House floor.
The NGFA, established in 1896, consists of more than 1,000 grain, feed, processing, exporting and other grain-related companies that operate more than 7,000 facilities and handle more than 70 percent of all U.S. grains and oilseeds. Its membership includes grain elevators; feed and feed ingredient manufacturers; biofuels companies; grain and oilseed processors and millers; exporters; livestock and poultry integrators; and associated firms that provide goods and services to the nation’s grain, feed and processing industry. The NGFA also consists of 33 affiliated State and Regional Grain and Feed Associations, and is co-located and has a strategic alliance with North American Export Grain Association, and a strategic alliance with Pet Food Institute.