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July 21, 2005

Rep. Weldon prescribes tax relief for short sea shipping

Rep. Dave Weldon, M.D., who represents Florida's 15th Congressional District (and who is a phsyician) has a prescription for improving the health of short sea shipping,

Along with Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut, he has introduced the Short Sea Shipping Tax Exemption Act of 2005 (H.R. 3319).

"The purpose of this legislation is to encourage cargo shipment along America's coastlines and major waterways in a new and innovative fashion," said rep. Weldon in introducing the legislation in the House.

"With our rail lines and highways at full capacity and a growing economy and population, America must find new ways to help cargo be transported. The end result being the creation of a blue water highway that has robust cargo traffic in and out of America's ports," he said.

"Currently vessels are subject to the Harbor Maintenance Tax each and every time when servicing a port," said Rep. Weldon. "This tax precludes many vessels from going to many American ports in a sequential fashion. This legislation would eliminate that tax and thus remove a barrier to Short Sea Shipping. Without this tax in place a cargo vessel could travel from Port Canaveral in Florida, to Baltimore and then onto New York without having to pay the tax. The tax would remain for the larger, ocean-going cargo ships."

"For Short Sea Shipping/Blue Water Highway to become a reality," concluded Rep. Weldon, "it will take more than the removal of the Harbor Maintenance Tax for the unique vessels needed for Short Sea Shipping, but this a good first step."

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