US Law Would Place Fee on Trade

Titled Our Nation's Trade Infrastructure, Mobility and Efficiency Act of 2009 and referred to as the ON TIME Act, a bill sponsored by Ken Calvert (R-CA) would “direct the Secretary of Transportation to establish and collect a fee based on the fair market value of articles imported into the United States and articles exported from the United States in commerce and to use amounts collected from the fee to make grants to carry out certain transportation projects in the transportation trade corridors for which the fee is collected, and for other purposes.”

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. The bill has one co-sponsor, Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL).

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Titled Our Nation's Trade Infrastructure, Mobility and Efficiency Act of 2009 and referred to as the ON TIME Act, a bill sponsored by Ken Calvert (R-CA) would “direct the Secretary of Transportation to establish and collect a fee based on the fair market value of articles imported into the United States and articles exported from the United States in commerce and to use amounts collected from the fee to make grants to carry out certain transportation projects in the transportation trade corridors for which the fee is collected, and for other purposes.”

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. The bill has one co-sponsor, Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL).

The language of H.R. 947, as the bill is designated, includes reference to the impact of international trade stating, “The growth in international trade, particularly containerized trade, is placing pressure on the Nation's transportation network and influences traffic congestion in the areas surrounding the major United States-international gateways.”

Citing the period from 2000 to 2005, the bill states that international trade rose from $2 trillion to $2.6 trillion while containerized shipments increased from 59 million twenty-foot-equivalent-units (TEUs) to 81 million TEUs. Existing trade agreements and potential future agreements would increase international trade and, according to the bill, congestion from freight shipments.

“Traffic congestion continues to worsen in United States cities of all sizes, causing Americans to waste 4,200,000,000 hours in traffic and to purchase an extra 2,900,000,000 gallons of fuel for a congestion cost of $78,000,000,000 per year,” continues the bill. “More than 200 freight bottlenecks are costing the goods movement industry $8,000,000,000 in economic losses annually and 243,000,000 hours of delay and lost productivity each year.”

Just maintaining current conditions would require an investment of $304 billion in 2015 and $472 billion in 2030. Improving current conditions would require investments of $368 billion in 2015 and $561 billion in 2030.

The proposed import fee would be “0.075% of the value of the article that is subject to the fee or $500, whichever is less.” The export fee would be the same.

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