Port director Nelson meets with lawmakers

Port of Grays Harbor news

On Friday, April 20, Port of Grays Harbor executive director Gary Nelson participated in the U.S. House Subcommittee on Water Resources roundtable discussion, “America’s Water Resources Infrastructure: Concepts for the Next Water Resources Development Act, Part II” in Coos Bay, Ore.

Representing the Association of American Port Authorities (AAPA) as the North Pacific Caucus Chair, Nelson addressed the importance of maintaining the nation’s waterways and how AAPA’s unified agreement for full-use of the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) revenues would achieve this. Roundtable participants included bipartisan leaders of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, along with Congressional staff and an array of public and private stakeholders.

“AAPA has worked with its members throughout the port industry to develop a sustainable, long-term funding solution for maintaining our waterways that is fair and equitable to ports of all sizes,” Gary Nelson said in a press release. “The unified solution will address the equity concerns of donor and energy ports, as well as the needs of emerging ports, while ensuring HMT revenues are used for their intended purpose of navigation channel maintenance.”

Congress is currently working on Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) legislation that authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out navigation, flood control, shoreline protection, hydropower, dam safety, water supply and environmental restoration activities nationwide. Such infrastructure is critical to the nation’s competitiveness and is directly tied to job creation and economic development.

The Port of Grays Harbor, strategically located on Washington State’s Pacific coast, is a leading export port for soybean meal, automobiles, liquid bulks and logs. A publicly-owned, rural port district Grays Harbor ranked 37th in the nation for export cargo volumes. The Corps of Engineers conducts annual maintenance of the Grays Harbor navigation channel to support the nationally significant trade infrastructure.

“At the Port of Grays Harbor, we depend on the maintenance of our federal navigation channel to ensure our customer’s products, which are grown and manufactured in the U.S. Midwest and intermountain region, can safely and efficiently reach their markets throughout the Pacific Rim. Our customers recognize the strategic advantage of our Port and have invested millions of dollars in their facilities to take advantage of our location and proximity to Pacific Rim markets,” Nelson said. “AAPA’s unified, sustainable and long-term HMT funding solution will ensure the thousands of farming and manufacturing jobs in those regions, and thousands more here in the Pacific Northwest can continue to depend on our waterways to deliver goods throughout the world.”