Oakland, CA, USA – February 22, 2011 — Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar R. Benjamin participated this morning in one of only two listening sessions in California conducted by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Committee Chair Rep. John Mica (R-FL) is conducting a series of listening sessions around the country to gather public input on pending federal transportation legislation. Today's hearing was hosted by Subcommittee Chair Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Fresno) and joined by subcommittee Chair Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) and committee member Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Long Beach).
Port of Oakland Executive Director Benjamin was the only port representative participating in the two California listening sessions, where he spoke as President of the California Association of Port Authorities and as one of the six port leaders involved with the United States West Coast Collaboration.
Benjamin’s comments focused on the need for a comprehensive national goods movement strategy; support for public private partnerships where the federal government is a partner; the need for streamlined environmental processes without compromising environmental protection; the need to explore “smart fixes” to federal funding sources like the federal Harbor Maintenance Tax Fund; and support for key California projects such as the development of the former Oakland Army Base into a Trade and Logistics Center.
These comments were well-received and echoed by port partners such as California Transportation Commission Member Darius Assemi, Devine Intermodal President Richard Coyle, BNSF Director of Public Private Partnerships Aaron Hegeman, and Nisei Farmers League President Manuel Cunha, Jr.
After the federal listening session, Port of Oakland Executive Director Benjamin met with key Central Valley agricultural leaders and business partners to discuss how the Port can increase agricultural exports through Oakland. In addition to creating jobs at the Port and in the region, the Port of Oakland’s export promotion advances the U.S. government goal of doubling export volumes by 2015 through President Barack Obama’s National Export Initiative.
About the Port of Oakland
The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland seaport, Oakland International Airport and 20 miles of waterfront. The Oakland seaport is the fifth busiest container port in the U.S.; Oakland International Airport is the second largest San Francisco Bay Area airport, offering over 130 daily flights; and the Port’s real estate includes commercial developments such as Jack London Square and hundreds of acres of public parks and conservation areas. The Port of Oakland was established in 1927 and is an independent department of the City of Oakland. Please visit: www.portofoakland.com.
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