Port of Oakland Joins Farmers to Advocate for Infrastructure Funding
September 27, 2013-Oakland, Calif.- The American Farm Bureau Federation and the Port of Oakland today called for much needed improvements in port infrastructure. Leaders from AFBF’s Trade Advisory Committee and Port officials are encouraging Congress to better utilize money within the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).
“There are no trucks or trains to Asia,” said TAC Chair and Kansas Farm Bureau President Steve Baccus. “In order to reach those consumers and compete in the world market, we must invest in port infrastructure.”
The Port of Oakland serves as a premier export gateway for agricultural products originating in California and throughout the nation. In 2012 approximately $6.74 billion in agricultural products were exported through the Oakland seaport to overseas customers. This represents about 47.7% of the total 2012 value of exports leaving the Port of Oakland.
Agriculture is very trade dependent. Last year more than $141 billion of agricultural goods were exported. Yet, U.S. port and waterways infrastructure is decades behind international competitors due to lack of funding. For example, only about half of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is currently being allocated toward port infrastructure.
“It is vital to the national economy for the federal government to make much needed investments into US port infrastructure,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle. “The Port of Oakland is the fifth busiest container port in the US and supports 73,000 jobs locally and 827,000 jobs across the country. Ports need federal investment to improve infrastructure in order to be globally competitive and remain job-creating powerhouses.”
Updating America’s marine infrastructure is essential for agriculture to serve domestic markets and compete internationally. That’s why passage of a WRRDA bill is so critically important. WRRDA not only makes necessary reforms to secure America’s competitiveness well into the future, but ensures that our grocery shelves are stocked and our lights stay on.
AFBF’s Trade Advisory Committee is currently touring the West and Pacific Northwest looking at ports and transportation infrastructure.
About the Port of Oakland:
The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland seaport and Oakland International Airport. The Port’s jurisdiction includes 20 miles of waterfront from the Bay Bridge through Oakland International Airport. The Oakland seaport is the fifth busiest container port in the U.S.; Oakland International Airport is the second largest San Francisco Bay Area airport offering over 300 daily passenger and cargo flights; and the Port’s real estate includes commercial developments such as Jack London Square and hundreds of acres of public parks and conservation areas. Together, through Port operations and those of its tenants and users, the Port supports more than 73,000 jobs in the region and nearly 827,000 jobs across the United States. The Port of Oakland was established in 1927 and is an independent department of the City of Oakland. Connect with the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport through Facebook, or with the Port on Twitter, YouTube, and at www.portofoakland.com.
About the American Farm Bureau Federation:
The American Farm Bureau is the unified national voice of agriculture working through its grassroots organizations to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities.