US House passes Oregon Congresswoman Val Hoyle's port infrastructure bill
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill clarifying that ports can apply for Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) grants that support commercial fishing.
Run through the U.S. Transportation Department’s Maritime Administration, PIDP is a federal program that distributes competitive grants to port authorities, states, and local governments for port-related infrastructure projects. However, it was unclear whether ports could use PIDP funding for commercial fishing projects, U.S. Representative Val Hoyle (D-Oregon) said.
Last week, Hoyle introduced the Supporting Commercial Fishing in Port Infrastructure Projects Act, a bill that would explicitly allow ports to apply for and use PIDP funding to support commercial fishing efforts.
Hoyle’s bill was incorporated into the Maritime Administration Reauthorization bill, which was passed by the U.S. House on 14 July as part of the annual defense appropriations legislation. She ultimately voted against the bill itself, stating the "inclusion of unrelated controversial amendments around abortion policy; the removal of diversity, equity, and inclusion programs important to military recruitment and retention; and attacks on common-sense climate change policy made the bill unsupportable."
However, she thanked Transportation and Infrastructure Committee leadership for including her language in the final bill.
“Oregon’s commercial fishing is the backbone of our coastal economies. Creating additional pathways to secure federal funding helps us to keep jobs at home, source food locally, and build back the middle class. I’m in Congress to make the federal government work for our rural coastal communities,” Hoyle said. “I want to thank Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman [Representative] Sam Graves [R-Missouri] and Ranking Member [Representative] Rick Larsen [D-Washington] for their support to include my legislation as part of the House’s MARAD Reauthorization bill.”
Hoyle’s commercial fishing language will also have to be approved by the U.S. Senate.
In 2021, the U.S. Congress included USD 2.25 billion (EUR 2 billion) in funding for PIDP over a five-year period as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In February 2023, the Maritime Administration announced that there would be USD 662 million (EUR 590 million) in fiscal 2023 funding available through PIDP.
“America’s ports play a central role in our supply chains,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in February. “With today’s announcement, we are helping make our ports safer, more efficient, and more reliable – strengthening supply chains, reducing costs for the American people, and positioning us for economic success.”
Photo courtesy of Felipe Sanchez/Shutterstock