Conclusions drawn from the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) 2016-2020 port planned infrastructure investment survey indicate the importance of the US federal government upholding its end of the country's port infrastructure development.

In the survey, released in April 2016, AAPA found that its US member ports and their private sector partners plan to spend $154.8bn on port-related freight and passenger infrastructure over the next five years. AAPA compared that figure with the $24.825bn that AAPA officials believe is the “best case” scenario for federal government investments through 2020, including land and waterside connections, and concluded that the government had better hold up its end of the bargain.

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According to AAPA president and CEO Kurt Nagle, the vast difference between the two investment scenarios indicates tangible concerns, particularly considering the need to increase government investments in the US’s federal navigation channels and “first-and-last mile” connections with ports.

“It’s vital that the federal government uphold its end of the partnership,” Mr Nagle said. “Infrastructure investments in the US’s seaports and their intermodal connections – both on the land and in the water – are in our country’s best interest because they provide opportunities to bolster our economy, create and sustain jobs, enhance our international competitiveness, and pay annual dividends through the generation of more than $321bn in federal, state and local tax revenue.”

Furthermore, goods moved through the US's seaports in 2014 supported employment of more than 23 million US workers, up from 13.3 million in 2007.

Economist Dr John C Martin, president of Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based Martin Associates, indicated that the US Bureau of Economic Analysis formulas show that investing nearly $155bn in capital projects at US ports would create about 1.6 million direct, indirect and induced domestic jobs. “Those are really significant job numbers,” said Mr Martin. “In 2014, the US coastal ports also generated $4600bn dollars for the US economy, about 26% of the US GDP. From a dollars-and-cents perspective, it is hard to overemphasise the value of investing in ports, particularly when you factor in how much these investments contribute to our overall economic prosperity.”