Ninety-five percent of our overseas trade moves by ship, making America’s marine transportation system a crucial part of our economy.
And yesterday, I was pleased to speak to the House of Representatives’ Port Opportunity, Renewal, Trade, and Security (PORTS) Caucus about the Obama Administration’s deep commitment to investing in our ports and marine highways to create jobs and keep American goods moving to markets.
Investing in our ports is a key part of supporting the President’s goal of doubling our national exports by the year 2015. That’s why the Administration has –for the first time ever– put maritime on equal footing with other transportation modes when it comes to project funding.
DOT has done its part to invest in ports through the Recovery Act and the TIGER discretionary grant program. Through three rounds of TIGER grants, we’ve awarded more than $276 million to 17 port projects across the country.
Funding these projects is crucial because U.S. port facilities support 13.3 million jobs and account for $3.15 trillion in business activity in our economy.
Now more than ever, trade is essential to our economic prosperity. More than $5.5 billion worth of cargo moves through U.S. ports every day, and 95 percent of our overseas trade moves by ship. That strong trade volume requires strong ports and a strong shipping industry, supported by a 21st century transportation network.
And that's what DOT is working hard to ensure.
In addition to providing funds for port projects, President Obama recently established the White House-led Navigation Task Force to develop a strategy for future maritime investment.
And DOT has formed the Marine Transportation System Advisory Council to work with industry leaders to improve the efficiency of our ports and their connection to our entire transportation system.
DOT’s commitment to working with the marine industry to keep this important mode of transportation vibrant is stronger than ever. By working together, we can keep our ports healthy and prosperous, part of an American economy that's built to last.