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Reps. DeFazio, Garamendi respond to American Maritime Partnership study about the effect of the Jones Act on Puerto Rico

The following article was posted July 18 by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and is available online.

Washington, D.C. - Today, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Ranking Member John Garamendi (D-CA) responded to a study released by the American Maritime Partnership about the effect of the Jones Act on Puerto Rico's economy.

The study was completed by economists from Reeve & Associates and Estudios Técnicos, Inc. to address concerns raised about the Jones Act during the catastrophic 2017 hurricane season. It found that the Jones Act had no impact on retail prices or the cost of living in Puerto Rico. Moreover, the analysis confirms that the Jones Act did not prevent foreign-flag vessels from calling on Puerto Rico, dispelling an oft-repeated misconception. The study also found no evidence supporting claims that the Jones Act imposed excessive costs in Puerto Rico, either before or after the hurricanes.

"Today's findings confirm what many of us already knew - the Jones Act did not negatively affect Puerto Rico's ability to receive aid from around the world in the wake of last year's hurricanes," said DeFazio. "Jones Act carriers played a critical role in relief and recovery operations during Hurricane Maria, and there is no evidence to support the claim that the Jones Act was to blame for the serious shortcomings of the Federal emergency response effort. It is imperative we support the Jones Act to ensure a vibrant coastwise fleet to provide not only reliable and cost-effective transportation between U.S. destinations, but also to stand ready and available to assist in future disasters."

"This report confirms that the Jones Act is an economic benefit to Puerto Rico. Coastwise carriers under the Jones Act provide regular, dependable, quality and cost-effective service that benefits both the island and the domestic shipping industry. I believe it is urgent for both Congress and the administration to do more to help Puerto Rico rebuild from the devastating effects of recent hurricanes. As the island recovers, the coastwise trade will be more important than ever to carry the goods and supplies needed to get Puerto Rico back on its feet and build a brighter economic future," said Garamendi.

More information on the study can be found here.


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