The federal government has been collecting the Harbor Maintenance Tax from port customers for years with the specific purpose of port maintenance and dredging. When the government increased the tax in 1990, it did so with the explicit promise that all dredging needs would be met with funds collected from the tax, according to Port of Oakland’s spokesperson Marilyn Sandifur. Today, in the long, drawn-out battle over port funds, Port of Oakland officials claim the government has not released sufficient funds for maintenance over the years, and the proof is in the channels’ depths.

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