The passage of a transportation bill should be a big help in improving Pennsylvania’s waterways and ports.

Philadelphia importers and logistics companies applauded the Nov. 25 signing of a transportation funding bill that includes funding for construction and infrastructure improvement projects for ports as well as rail and aviation.

In Spring Mills, Gov. Tom Corbett signed the bill that establishes a multimodal transportation fund. In 2014, the state is scheduled to deposit $8 million into the fund for programs related to ports and waterways in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie and other areas, according to a news release.

Pennsylvania invests in port improvementsMike Maxwell, president of Philadelphia-based Procacci Bros Sales Corp., which imports produce through the region’s ports, said the move should help port efficiencies.

“The state has been putting a lot of money into dredging the Delaware River and improving our ports,” he said. “That dredging will allow the ports to handle larger ships. It should increase the capacity of those piers and help the overall greater good of all transportation and make it a more modern and efficient system.”

The bill should help modernize the ports, said Leo Holt, president of Gloucester City, N.J.-based Holt Logistics Corp., in the release.

Pennsylvania invests in port improvements“This bill is an unprecedented step towards creating a 21st century port and transportation model for the rest of the country,” he said in the release. “The presence of a dedicated long-term funding stream means we can continue to make the dockside improvements necessary for our facilities to be ready for the increased traffic that will result from the completion of the Delaware River deepening project.”

The multimodal transportation fund begins by providing approximately $30 million for fiscal year 2014 and increases through 2019, for a total of about $144 million, according to the release.

Gas taxes and motorist fees are part of $7.6 billion Pennsylvania is scheduled to spend on highways, bridges and public transit, according to news reports.