Representatives Farenthold, Weber, Babin, and Johnson Announce Texas Maritime Caucus
Plan to promote Texas ports and waterways
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas), Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) announced the creation of the Texas Maritime Caucus Wednesday.
The mission of the Caucus is to promote Texas ports and waterway districts, illustrate the importance of the ports and waterways to areas of the state and nation beyond the Gulf of Mexico, and advocate for changes in current law to facilitate optimal import and export of cargo and the transportation of passengers. The group plans on making ports a national conversation.
“I’m hopeful that under the Trump Administration we will get regulations out of the way so we can get moving and improve our ports,” said Rep. Farenthold. “President Trump’s commitment to infrastructure and deregulation will be good for our ports.”
“It is a great opportunity to work with my colleagues across the aisle to launch the Texas Maritime Caucus. I believe that this Caucus will allow us to discuss and arrive at effective policy solutions to raise awareness around Texas ports and the economic value they bring to our nation,” said Rep. Johnson.
“A Texas Maritime Caucus is long overdue. Together with the Caucus, our House colleagues, and the President, we aim to improve infrastructure, cut back regulations, and focus on the importance of maritime transportation and trade,” said Rep. Weber.
“American manufacturing is coming back, and Texas is ready to lead the way. I look forward to working with the Trump Administration and my colleagues in Congress to make sure that our ports, harbors, and waterways are able to maximize their potential. This Caucus, as well as the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee will play a critical role in those efforts, and I am honored to serve as a member of both,” said Rep. Brian Babin.
The Texas Transportation Commissioner applauds the Caucus’ efforts.
“The maritime industry plays an integral role in the operation of our state’s freight system,” said Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Austin III. “With a concentrated effort in advancing maritime operations, Texas stands ready to embrace continued positive economic development opportunities facilitated by this industry – more than 1.5 million jobs and $368 billion in economic value in our state in 2015. We look forward to working with the Caucus to raise awareness of Texas ports’ breadth of activity, resources, and importance to the national economy.”
Maritime transportation and associated facilities have always been an important component of the State of Texas’ transportation system. The state has 270 miles of deep draft channels along with 11 deep draft public ports. There are also 750 miles of shallow draft channels and more than 9 shallow draft public ports. Nearly one out of five vessels over 10,000 dead weight tons calling on US ports are served by Texas ports. With the deepening of the Panama Canal and the expected increase in worldwide waterborne trade, Texas waterways are projected to move over 766 million tons by 2030.
With the large number of seaports and miles of inland waterways, these gateways account for more than 17 percent of Texas’ gross state product, making it one of the country’s largest maritime states. In addition to affecting the employment of nearly one million Texans, the ports help to generate over $135 billion annually in economic activity and approximately $5 billion in tax revenue.