Congressman James Clyburn of the 6th South Carolina District has joined a bipartisan coalition of 34 U.S. House members in an effort to make sure federal funds from an established trust fund are used for the maintenance of the nation’s ports and waterways.
The representatives are sending a letter to the House Budget Committee requesting that the Harbor Maintenance Trust fund is used for harbor dredging. The fund was established by Congress in 1986. It is financed through a tax on cargo imported through a port or moved between two domestic ports. The revenue is to be used to fund up to 100 percent of dredging costs at domestic ports and waterways.
According to the House members, recent administrations have ignored the law utilizing one a half to two-thirds of the revenue for harbor maintenance. The rest of the revenue has been held to cover other areas of the federal budget. The letter urges that the Budget Committee to apportion all proceeds of the fund to sustain and dredge America’s ports. The lawmakers say 100 percent of the funds should be used toward activities which increase international trade, including proper maintenance of the ports.
The South Carolina Ports Authority owns and operates marine terminals in Charleston and Georgetown. The Port of Charleston currently ranks as the nation’s fourth busiest container port.