80th Annual Meeting

WHEREAS, cities and their metro economies dominate the US export market, accounting for 88% of export merchandise value and housing all the nationís major seaports; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors in its IHS Global Insight report ďUS Metro Economies: Exports in the Next DecadeĒ forecasts that exports will account for nearly 40% of real US Gross Domestic Product (GMP) growth in the coming decade (2011-2020)óa dramatic increase over the last decade when exports accounted for 26.5% of real GDP growth; and

WHEREAS, over the long run, US export growth will be strong, averaging 8% annually during the next 10 years, outpacing imports; and

WHEREAS, the President, through his National Export Initiative, has established a goal of doubling the nationís exports by 2015; and

WHEREAS, to take advantage of this export growth potential for our national and metro economies,investment in critical freight transportation infrastructure is needed to spur higher productivity, achieve cost efficient transport of goods destined for export, and enhance global competitiveness;and

WHEREAS, to be efficiently allocated, this investment should be targeted to the multimodal movement of goods on the nationís most significant freight corridors, and support investment in intermodal connectors at freight terminals (gateways), including ports, rail yards and distribution centers, that support national and regional connectivity; and

WHEREAS, U.S. ports face increased competition from Canada and Mexico who are building up their seaports and rail lines to lure U.S. cargo away from U.S. ports; and

WHEREAS, U.S. ports expect changes in global shipping routes due to the expansion of the Panama Canal which is set to open in early 2015, cargo growth through the Suez Canal, and the opening of Artic shipping routes; and

WHEREAS, the size and capacity of the ships deployed in the worldís container fleet is growing rapidly, as shippers seek more cost efficiencies by leveraging economies of scale; and

WHEREAS, in 2011, 18% of the new container ships on order were larger than 5,000 TEUs, or twenty-foot equivalent units (the standard measure for containerized cargo); and

WHEREAS, nearly90% of the new container ships set to be built between 2012 and 2015 willexceed the 5,000 TEU mark and nearly half of these on-order ships will exceedthe 10,000 TEU mark; and

WHEREAS, in order to accommodate these larger ships slated for use by global shipping companies, US ports must be deepenedto at least 50 feet and that federal authorization andfunding is required for such dredging projects; and

WHEREAS, over the past 10 years, containerized cargo volume at U.S. ports has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1 percent, culminating in a total of more than 41 million TEUs handled by US ports in 2010; and

WHEREAS, under reasonable growth projections in the U.S. economy and world trade, the number of containers handled at U.S. ports could double in 20 years; and

WHEREAS, over the past five years annual Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) expenditures for channel maintenance have averaged less than $800 million, creating a surplus but leaving users with inadequately maintained channels; and

WHEREAS, the annual need for maintenance dredging is in the range of $1.3 to $1.6 billion, and that this need is comparable to the funds collected; and

WHEREAS, the federal government has not fully utilized the funds for needed maintenance dredging -- rather, it has allowed a large surplus to build up in the trust fund in order to mask the federal deficit or fund other programs; and

WHEREAS, a recent study by the Manpower Group of Milwaukee found that 52% of employers reportthey cannot match job openings with available labor due to insufficient education, skills and training; and

WHEREAS, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13.8% of individuals 25 years or older without a high school degree are jobless, only 9.6% of those with a high school diploma are; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The United States Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to adopt a National Freight Policy to ensure imported cargo and goods destined for export be transported over a reliable, cost-effective, and efficient intermodal transportation system; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the nationís mayors support legislation that would require the US Department of Transportation to work with state, regional and local governments, private sector freight stakeholders, and port authorities to define a priority system of corridors and gateways of national and regional significance, and make funding available to support freight mobility and goods movement through a national multimodal/intermodal system; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the nationís mayors encourage the Administration, cities and port authorities to integrate freight policy with environmental policy thereby reducing harmful air emissions andexpediting nationally important intermodal transportation projects; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the nationís mayors call on Congress to pass legislation that directs the annual distribution of all annual sums collected through the Harbor Maintenance Tax for thepurposes for which it is intended; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the nationís mayors continue to strengthen the partnership between the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Small Business Administration and other federal agencies in the development of metro export strategies and initiatives involving local businesses, labor organizations, port authorities, educational and research institutions, and the tourism industry; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The US. Conference of Mayors calls on Congress and the administration to work with state and local government and educational systems to close the manufacturing production capacity gap and fill job openings in high skilled occupations by increasing the pool of skilled US trade workers and provide greater advancedtraining, through demand-driven and targeted workforce development programs, toAmericanworkers (especially veterans) inthe science,technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills, which manufacturers need but have difficulty locating.