On November 12, during a keynote address at the annual convention of the American Association of Port Authorities in Houston, Vice President Biden issued a call to action for greater investment in U.S. port facilities.

“We are investing less than one percent of our GDP in transportation infrastructure . . . ranking 28th in the world among advanced nations.  That is simply unacceptable.”

The Vice President stated that after years of underinvestment, more than $90 billion in port improvements are needed by 2020.  In part, these improvements are needed to prepare for a significant increase in shipping over the next several years.  The Vice President projected that “Ports can expect to ship 50% more cargo by 2020 than they do now, and that’s probably a low estimate.”

With this desperate need to improve port facilities, Vice President Biden noted the opportunity ports have to deliver projects through public-private partnerships (PPPs), acknowledging that ports have experience in using PPPs to deliver projects.  Further to this point, the Vice President praised the recently enacted Water Resources Reform and Development Act, which received bipartisan support in Congress and provides both funding and a low-cost credit program for water projects.