Chairman Cordero Speaks to American Society of Civil Engineers Regarding Sustainability and Ports
March 21, 2016
Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero spoke to the American Society of Civil Engineers in Long Beach on Wednesday regarding infrastructure, the Commission’s support of ASCE’s work, and about funding opportunities available to better the physical condition of America’s maritime gateways.
The Chairman spoke of the importance to the maritime industry of maintaining ecological balance through sustainability practices, whether it is related to maritime transportation, port development, or infrastructure. The Chairman affirmed that sustainable practices are paramount in assessing costs and efficiency.
He also noted that the FMC has played an important role—hand in hand with the industry and civil engineers—in ensuring that we keep up with sustainability efforts. He mentioned the key factors needed for any sustainable port development initiative to succeed, including: (1) continuous commitment from all stakeholders, (2) recognizing and embracing the fact that by their nature, these types of initiatives evolve overtime and are an ongoing work in progress, and (3) the ability to take advantage of evolving technologies. The Chairman assured the audience that the FMC continues to promote best practices in fostering an efficient and reliable international ocean transportation system, particularly as international trade continues to grow and the demands of ocean transportation require a reduction in fuel costs and further improve energy efficiency.
Finally, the Chairman discussed the monetary resources available to ports across the country for investing in infrastructure at the ports. Amongst the many sources for federal funding, the Chairman highlighted Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants, which recently made $500 million dollars available for transportation projects across the country through leveraging money from public-private partnerships. Through the prior seven rounds, $524 million in TIGER grants were awarded for 43 port and/ or marine highway projects in 24 states. In addition, port funding has been available through the FAST Act, the FASTLANE Program, Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans, the America’s Marine Highway Program, BATIC, and RRIF. The Chairman noted that some of this funding could and should be used to modernize old ports and expand others in anticipation of larger ships.