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The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee yesterday approved H.R. 2440, the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act.The bipartisan bill would make it easier for Congress to appropriate funds collected in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for authorized harbor maintenance needs, including the existing $9.3 billion balance in the fund, according to a committee press release."For years — during Republican and Democratic administrations alike — the Harbor Maintenance tax has been diverted from its intended purpose, which is to ensure our nation's ports and harbors are properly dredged and fully operational. It's past time we put those taxes back into much needed improvements," said committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). The legislation enables the expenditure of about $34 billion over the next decade, which would allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge all federal harbors to their constructed widths and depths, committee officials said.