Institute: Include Maritime in Infrastructure Investment (9/12)


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Following President Obama’s announcement of his jobs program, the Lexington Institute called for the inclusion of the American maritime industry in any infrastructure investments that result from the American Jobs Act.


A post by Daniel Goure, Ph.D., on the Institute’s website said that waterborne transportation was “noticeably missing from this vision of an upgraded transportation infrastructure” announced by the president. “The U.S. maritime industry includes international, coastal and inland waterways transportation,” Goure pointed out. “In 2009, water transportation carried 78 percent of U.S. goods exports by tonnage and 36.9 percent of U.S. goods exports by value, via U.S.-flag and foreign-flag carriers. The American maritime industry moves about one-quarter of our domestic commerce for about 3 percent of the domestic freight bill. The inland waterways system consists of 12,000 miles of navigable waterways that serves 41 states and carries almost two million tons of freight annually. Some 40,000 U.S. privately owned vessels are involved in U.S. foreign and domestic trades, the vast majority in coastal areas and inland waterways. The value of U.S. water transportation activities alone, separate from the value of goods moved by water, was estimated recently at more than $100 billion. Other maritime activities such as support for offshore drilling are worth tens of billions of dollars more each year.”


He continued, “Like its road and rail counterparts, the U.S. waterborne transportation system is in need of repair and upgrade. By some estimates, the U.S. inland waterways system alone requires $50 billion in urgent repairs and upgrades. Expanded foreign trade is placing stresses on major U.S. ports which are in need of billions of dollars of improvements to handle greater volumes of freight…. So, as long as he is handing out bags of money for infrastructure projects, the President should spend some of it to sustain and expand America’s maritime transportation system. For $50 billion, this nation’s inland waterways could be modernized and expanded. This would speed transportation, lower costs and even improve the environment.”


Click HERE to read the entire article.


The Lexington Institute is based in Arlington, Va. Its mission statement reads in part: “It is the goal of the Lexington Institute to inform, educate, and shape the public debate of national priorities in those areas that are of surpassing importance to the future success of democracy, such as national security, education reform, tax reform, immigration and federal policy concerning science and technology. By promoting America’s ability to project power around the globe we not only defend the homeland of democracy, but also sustain the international stability in which other free-market democracies can thrive.


“The Lexington Institute believes in limiting the role of the federal government to those functions explicitly stated or implicitly defined by the Constitution. The Institute therefore actively opposes the unnecessary intrusion of the federal government into the commerce and culture of the nation, and strives to find nongovernmental, market-based solutions to public-policy challenges. We believe a dynamic private sector is the greatest engine for social progress and economic prosperity.”




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