TIGER Grant for Indiana-Jeffersonville PortBy Joseph R. Fonseca
The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville will receive $10 million in TIGER Discretionary Grant money to enhance and expand the port's infrastructure. U.S. Maritime Administrator Paul "Chip" Jaenichen joined Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann and port officials for the announcement at the Port of Indiana on Friday. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that 39 projects across the U.S. will receive a total of $500 million in TIGER grant funds, including five port projects totaling $44.3 million.
"The awarding of this TIGER Grant underscores the port's goal of increasing maritime commerce through domestic barge service," said Administrator Jaenichen. "This is a critical project that will kick this Midwestern economic engine into high gear."
The grant will provide partial funding for $17 million in infrastructure enhancements that will add nearly four miles to the port's existing 11-mile rail network.
The project will enhance and overhaul the railroad infrastructure and intermodal capabilities throughout the entire port. The project scope includes construction of a siding to accommodate unit train delivery to and from the port, reconfiguration of the waterfront railroad infrastructure including two new rail loops that will dramatically increase operational efficiency, construction of a waterfront intermodal facility that will more than double the capacity of bulk commodities transferred from rail cars to barges, construction of a rail yard that will allow cargo to be transferred between trucks and rail cars, and construction of more than a mile of the railroad extension towards the River Ridge Commerce Center.
"The Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville is a critical economic driver for Indiana and this grant will greatly enhance its ability to provide Hoosier businesses more transportation options, including more efficient access to the U.S. inland waterways system and global markets," said Governor Mike Pence. "This is an exciting time for Southern Indiana as this area is poised for exceptional growth.
The recent $2.3 billion dollar investment in two new interstate bridges spanning the Ohio River, the construction of a heavy-haul transportation corridor connecting the port to the 6,000-acre River Ridge Commerce Center, and now additional expansion of the port's cargo-handling capabilities, helps position this region to further attract new bulk cargoes and large scale industrial projects that require multimodal transportation connections."
Indiana's three ports contribute over $6 billion per year to the state economy and support 50,000 Hoosier jobs.
"Indiana's ports are critical parts of our transportation infrastructure that support economic development and job creation in our state," said Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann. "This grant will allow us to enhance the port's rail and shipping capacities and expand its vital role as a gateway to domestic and international markets."
The Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville set a shipping record in 2014, exceeding two million tons for the first time since opening in 1985 and, in the first quarter of 2015, logged its highest quarterly freight volume ever. Port operations generate an economic impact of $1.5 billion per year and support over 11,000 total jobs.
"These investments will allow the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville to double its cargo-handling capacity at the port and further improve rail service," said Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper. "Maritime transportation is not only the safest and most environmentally-friendly mode of transportation, but it's the most cost-effective way to move large volumes of bulk cargo. When you combine the rail improvements of this project with the ability to transload efficiently from rail and/or truck to water, it's a winning combination for all companies who utilize the port's multimodal connectivity."