Business Matters Fall 2018 - Page 31

Military Infrastructure Mission Readiness. The Chamber strongly supports funding, staffing and operations for strategic missions at military installations in the Coastal Bend. The Chamber also supports enhancing missions, operations and contracting opportunities to increase the military value of these bases. The Chamber supports funding to address aging infrastructure such as roads, bridges, utilities as well as needs to address growth and economic expansion. The Chamber is concerned about the impact of Sequestration as well as significant reductions in the Defense Budget may have on the long-term military readiness of our armed forces. These significant cuts continue to damage our military readiness and have a major impact on our economy. Port of Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project. The Chamber supports federal funding by Congress and the Administration to complete the remaining navigation features of the project that include widening the ship channel to 530 feet and deepening to 54 feet and construction of barge shelves by 2021.The project is estimated to add nearly $35 billion annually in additional goods value exports, reduce the ballooning trade deficit and provide over $100 million in annual transportation cost savings by using larger supertankers. Sequestration has been harmful to our ability to recapitalize our equipment and weapons and will continue to have a negative impact on our national security and must be ended. It will continue to erode the military and comprise the nation’s ability to defend itself. If there are to be cuts in the military, they should be done in an orderly and thoughtful manner so that national security is not compromised. Wind Turbines & Green Energy Subsidies. Wind turbines and wind turbine farms are growing at an increasing rate; however, the cumulative effect of clusters of wind turbines on aviation navigational radar is a challenge that has yet to be addressed. There are areas in the U.S. where hundreds of existing wind turbines are operating within a 25 mile radius of a military and civilian airport. The FAA must invest in mitigation technologies and strategies that negate the effects of wind turbines on aviation radars. Until mitigation technologies are developed and implemented, we propose stopping subsidies for green energy projects within at least a 25 mile radius around airports. U.S. Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi. The mission of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi is integral to the maritime and environmental safety of our region. The Port Aransas Station suffered a total loss during Harvey and the Chamber supports total funding of the rebuild project. Ta x R e f o r m The Chamber supports a pro-growth tax agenda to lower tax rates for businesses and individuals alike, establish a more economically rational tax base, and simplify compliance and administration. Marketplace Fairness Act of 2017. Support legislation to ensure that states have the ability to collect sales tax dollars they are owed under current law from out-of-state businesses or online retailers. Cities across the United States such as Corpus Christi are losing out on sales tax dollars that aren’t being collected by out-of-state online retailers. This hurts local government’s ability to fund much needed services. The Chamber opposes elimination of the tax exempt status of municipal bonds. Losing tax exempt status would significantly increase the costs of public works projects. Water Resources Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The Chamber supports future legislation for authorizing navigation projects such as the Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project and policy changes for the USACE. Passage of legislation is needed every two years. WRDA includes legislation to allow full use of the $9 billion in unused Harbor Maintenance Tax revenues for maintenance dredging of seaports. The tax is collected but has not been fully appropriated by Congress. Tr a n s p o r t a t i o n President’s Infrastructure Package. The Chamber supports future legislation that includes investment in seaport infrastructure. The President’s $1 trillion infrastructure package must contain direct funding for seaports. TIGER/BUILD Program. The Chamber supports continued funding for TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery), a key multimodal grant program for port-related infrastructure projects. The President’s Administration has renamed the TIGER Program BUILD. FAST Act. The Chamber supports continued funding of the FAST Act, a discretionary grant program for water and landside infrastructure to facilitate the movement of goods, bolster economic expansion and international trade opportunities through seaports, highways, and rail. Harbor Bridge. The Chamber supports replacing the existing Harbor Bridge, which spans the Corpus Christi Ship Channel on U.S. 181. This project has been recognized as one of the top ten “most needed” transportation projects in the state of Texas and is recognized as a project of National and Regional Significance. We support fully funding the Harbor Bridge Project until its completion. I-69/Interstate 14. The Chamber supports the upgrade and completion of I-69 through East Texas, the Houston Region and South Texas into a seamless interstate. The Chamber supports funding to continue investment in the development of Interstate 14 (the Gulf Coast Strategic Military Highway) to provide the energy production area of West Texas and the various Texas military facilities improved access to Corpus Christi and the Gulf Coast. We support amendment to add another segment from the Permian Basin to the Interstate 14 designation. UNITED CORPUS CHRISTI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 2018 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA