A funding bill approved Friday by Congress includes $1.2 billion to pay for dredging and other maintenance work at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports and other ports around the country, a local congresswoman said.

Port of Los Angeles. Photo via portoflosangeles.org
Rep. Janice Hahn, D-San Pedro, called the funding “a major victory for our ports, allowing them to invest in dredging, maintenance and other improvements that will enable them to operate more efficiently and remain globally competitive.”

She added that “with this spending level made into law, we are one step closer to ensuring all the money collected at our ports is spent at our ports.”

The Los Angeles and Long Beach ports will receive a portion of the $1.2 billion, but that amount has not been determined yet.

The funding approved Friday is $299 million more than recommended by President Barack Obama, according to Hahn.

The money comes out of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which ports from around the country pay into. Hahn and other local representatives in 2014 complained that larger ports paid the most into the trust fund, but did not get a comparable amount back. They ultimately got a law passed that would allow Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as other similarly bigger ports, to obtain a larger share of the funds.

In addition to dredging, some of the funds can be used for removal of contaminated sediment, according to Samara Ashley, director of government relations for the Port of Long Beach.

Also approved in the funding bill was Hahn’s request to the Department of Homeland Security to study cybersecurity holes at the nation’s 10 “most at- risk” ports, which may include Los Angeles, Oakland, New York and Houston.

A similar request stalled in April, after it was approved by just the House. The request approved today would give Homeland Security Department officials 180 days to report back to Congress on port cybersecurity issues, according to Hahn aides.

— City News Service

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