The full US Senate has passed the Water Resources Development Act by a vote of 83-14 on a strongly bipartisan vote.

The bill (S601) includes provisions related to the Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMF) that would substantially increase funding for dredging and maintenance at US ports to $1bn in FY 2014 and would increase funding for dredging and maintenance by $100M/y until all the funds collected under the HMF are fully allocated for their intended purpose in FY 2020.

AIIS was encouraged last year when the Congress authorised $1bn for dredging and maintenance in the Highway Bill, but because a final budget was not passed for FY 2013, the increased funding was not appropriated. AIIS believe that this new effort, while not the perfect solution that would immediately allocate 100% of the HMF to its intended purpose, is an important step in reaching that goal

The dredging needs of the port system have become increasingly dire due to insufficient funding for dredging and maintenance over many years’ comments Kevin Castagnola, chairman, AIIS Ports Committee.