Reform The Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT)

Since 2003, collections levied on U.S. imports through the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) have far exceeded funds appropriated for harbor maintenance, resulting in a large and growing “surplus” in the trust fund. Rather than being used for their intended purpose, these user fees are instead used to balance the federal budget each year. Securing full appropriation of all Harbor Maintenance tax revenue from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to ensure adequate maintenance of other relevant issues associated with our regional port infrastructure is critical to maintaining international competitiveness of our ports. It’s important that state and federal infrastructure spending contributes to the improvement associated with natural deep-water ports, like those in Washington State, by addressing other funding needs (i.e. Intermodal, etc.) at those locations.


Port of Tacoma, “Harbor Maintenance Tax” Fact Sheet
March 2014

Port of Tacoma has published a one pager on its position to support reforming the Harbor Maintenance Tax to ensure the United States tax policy does not disadvantage ports and maritime cargo, and to provide greater equity for harbor maintenance tax donor ports through expanded use of the harbor maintenance revenues.

Seattle Chamber of Commerce, “Letter in Support Of Harbor Maintenance Tax Reform
August 2013

On August 12, the Chamber joined more than 40 businesses and organizations across Washington state in sending a letter to the Washington Congressional delegation in strong support of newly announced legislation to reform the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT). The letter – organized by the Chamber’s special program, the Washington Council on International Trade – called for Washington’s Congressional delegation to take a leadership role in the successful passage of the legislation, which will be jointly introduced by U.S. Senator Patty Murray and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell when Congress reconvenes in September.