Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Val Hoyle in mid-July aims to clarify whether ports can apply for infrastructure grants to support commercial fishing, and in turn boost coastal communities’ jobs and economies.
Hoyle (D-OR) said current law does not make it explicitly clear whether ports can apply for Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) grants supporting commercial fishing, and that’s why she introduced the Support Commercial Fishing in Port Infrastructure Projects Act.
The legislation states that any secured PIDP funds can be utilized to support the loading and unloading of commercially harvested fish and fish products.
The bill would ensure that ports may apply for federal funding through the Maritime Administration’s PIDP for port infrastructure projects that support commercial fishing and employment that comes with it.
Hoyle noted that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, commercial fisheries in Oregon generated about $558 million for Oregon’s economy.
“We need to clear through any red tape to ensure federal funding can help our commercial fishing industry,” said the congresswoman, who represents Oregon’s newly drawn fourth congressional district, which includes Benton, Coos, Curry, Lane and Lincoln counties, as well as part of Douglas County.
“My legislation makes it clear that every one of Oregon’s ports should have the ability to apply for federal infrastructure funding that supports commercial fishing,” she said in a prepared statement.
A record $2.25 billion is being provided over five years for the PIDP under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The package is the largest federal investment to date in the nation’s ports.