The main industry group for U.S. maritime ports is praising yesterday’s Senate passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and pressing the House to follow its lead and deliver $3 billion of infrastructure funding to ports for electrification projects, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) said.
The funding package is the latest iteration of the Biden Administration’s long-debated Build Back Better legislation, although now just a fraction of the size of the original proposal. The current version is a budget reconciliation bill that includes $3 billion over five years to establish a new grant program to install electrified equipment and reduce emissions at ports.
According to AAPA, that investment would boost resiliency and expand cargo-handling capacity, marking “an enormous win for the American port industry and U.S. supply chains.”
The legislation would provide funding for ports that seek to purchase electrified or alternative-fueled cargo-handling equipment, shore power systems, microgrids for energy resiliency, and electric grid infrastructure. Such systems would also help satisfy the infrastructure needed to make U.S. ports more resilient to extreme weather events like heat waves and storms, AAPA said.
While $3 billion is a significant investment toward those goals, AAPA said the total need is far greater, totaling $50 billion worth of green infrastructure projects ready to build over the next decade, according to AAPA's survey of its members.
Despite that support, other corners of the American industrial sector provided opposition to the bill, with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) criticizing the way that the potential legislation would pay for its infrastructure funding.
“The NAM remains staunchly opposed to the IRA,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said in a release. “It increases taxes on manufacturers in America, undermining our competitiveness while we are facing harsh economic headwinds such as supply chain disruptions and the highest rate of inflation in decades.”
Instead of grouping its various initiatives under a single bill, NAM said that any “desirable elements” of the Inflation Reduction Act should be pursued as standalone legislation.