2-12-2018 - AAPA
Today, the President released the FY 2019 budget request and continued to propose many of the cuts he proposed in FY 2018, despite the fact that the recent budget agreement increased spending levels for the next two years. This is disappointing, as earlier in the day the President released his infrastructure initiative and encouraged Congress to make infrastructure a priority.
Below is a review of the President’s requested budget for FY 2019 and its impact on port-related programs.
Corps of Engineers – While Congress has not finalized the FY 2018 budget, the President’s budget proposal would be a considerable cut in Corp programs. The Corps overall funding request is $4.785 billion, down 4.34 percent from $5.002 billion the President requested for FY 2018. The Administration requests $965 million for Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) work in FY 2019, unchanged from the President’s request for FY 2018. Coastal navigation construction funding is $107 million, down from the President’s request of $133 million last year. The budget also called for a decrease in the HMT overall, as a step toward providing ports greater flexibility to finance their capital and operating costs on their own. AAPA advocates for the mandatory full use of HMT revenues, allowing ports that need traditional maintenance to be maintained, along with tax fairness funding of capital and operating costs at key donor and energy transfer ports.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – DHS’s Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) did not fare well in this year’s budget. The President proposed only $36 million for PSGP. Last year, the Trump Administration proposed $48 million. The House FY 2018 Homeland Security Appropriations bill includes $100 million for PSGP. The Senate Homeland Security bill includes $50 million, but this number can/should change with the lifting of the discretionary caps in the latest budget agreement.
Department of Transportation (DOT) – Once again, the Trump Administration zeroed out funding for TIGER in FY 2019. While Congress has not completed the budget for FY 2018, the Senate bill includes $550 million, and the House eliminates funding.
Environmental Protection Agency – The President followed last year’s recommendation and called for $10 million for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grants, which many ports use. The House proposed to increase the program in FY 2018 to $75 million, and the Senate includes $40 million. Information on the National Estuary Program was not immediately available.