The senators said the Harbor Maintenance Tax on imports that fund the operation and maintenance of U.S. ports is not being fully collected, meaning necessary infrastructure investments can’t be made. Shippers can avoid paying the tax by using ports in Canada and Mexico and then transporting those goods into the United States on trucks and trains.

Their bill, the Maritime Goods Movement Act for the 21st Century, would repeal the Harbor Maintenance Tax and replace it with the Maritime Goods Movement User Fee. The revenue would allow Congress to fund port operation and maintenance. They said the new fee would double the funds available for U.S. ports, which would help the economy.

“This legislation will change the Harbor Maintenance Tax to give shippers new incentives to move their goods through American ports,” Murray said.

The bill would also end tax incentives for large oil-and-gas companies to pay for infrastructure grants at remote ports.

Murray said they’d introduce the bill when Congress returns in September. Cantwell said she also asked Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusGreen Party puts Dem seat at risk in Montana Business groups worried about Trump's China tariffs plan Farmers hit Trump on trade in new ad MORE (D-Mont.) to include reforms to the HMT in tax reform legislation expected this fall.

Washington ports are heavily used for international and national trade.