U.S. DOT Funds $62 Million in Port Grants
Port Projects Awarded $62 Million in TIGER III Infrastructure Grants; Critical importance of connective infrastructure to America’s seaports recognized.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that 46 transportation projects in 33 states and Puerto Rico will receive a total of $511 million from the third round of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s popular TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants program.
The Department of Transportation received 848 project applications requesting a total of $14.29 billion. Four of the 46 capital project funding requests selected for awards go directly to America’s port-related infrastructure, totaling $62,238,246, or about 12 percent of the total $511,423,147 in capital grant funds available. Millions more go to projects that indirectly aid the efficient movement of goods to and from America’s seaports. “DOT Secretary LaHood has indicated on numerous occasions the value and importance of seaport-related infrastructure to America’s overall transportation system and our nation’s competitiveness in global trade,” said American Association of Port Authorities President and CEO Kurt Nagle. “We applaud this recognition of the critical role our nation’s ports play and the federal support in TIGER III for seaports.”
Mr. Nagle added, “Considering the vast number of applications submitted for the relatively small pot of money available, we recognize there was a lot of competition for the limited funds. However, we will continue to advocate for a 25 percent share of future TIGER grants, which we believe is the appropriate amount since port infrastructure investments are one of the four eligible areas (along with highways/bridges, transit, and freight/passenger rail) for the program.”
Since the program’s inception as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, AAPA has been a strong supporter of the TIGER multimodal discretionary grant program. In the first round of TIGER grant awards, port-related infrastructure projects received only 8 percent of the original $1.5 billion. In the second round of grants, port-related infrastructure did better, garnering approximately 17 percent of the total $556.6 million in capital grant funds available.
Projects directly related to seaports included in TIGER III awards are:
- South Jersey Port Rail Improvements for $18,500,000 to repair the DelAir Bridge, linking the rail networks of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This major connection will be repaired to accommodate the transport of industry-standard 286,000-pound rail cars and enhance freight movement throughout the Northeast region. It is part of a larger effort to repair the rail network from the DelAir Bridge to the Port of Salem, including the ports of Paulsboro and Camden, which must be significantly upgraded to accommodate the anticipated increased demand in rail and port traffic.
- Port of Long Beach Rail Realignment for $17,000,000 to improve the lead tracks to two Port of Long Beach rail yards and relieve a chokepoint at the Ocean Boulevard overcrossing, where a large portion of the cargo transits enters or exits port property. The project will improve efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of freight movements, and create jobs, enabling the port to move 35 percent of goods via on-dock rail by 2035.
- Port of New Orleans Rail Yard Improvements for $16,738,246 to rebuild a specialized Port of New Orleans rail yard at the Louisiana Avenue terminal along the Mississippi River. The overall project has two components: construction of a new 12-acre freight rail intermodal terminal; and resurfacing and fortifying a 4-acre storage yard that is used for ultra-heavy project cargoes. The project’s objective is to reduce congestion, facilitate the movement of marine and rail cargo, stimulate international commerce and maintain an essential port asset in a state of good repair.
- Dames Point Intermodal Container Facility for $10,000,000 to help complete a new Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) at the Port of Jacksonville that will be used by CSX railroad. The ICTF will include a five-track rail yard, two wide-span electric cranes and a paved area for stacking containers and several support uses, including a road and gate for truck movement of cargo, a parking area and storm-water retention facilities.
- In addition to those mentioned above, there are a number of TIGER III awarded projects that address key congestion points along main rail lines, inland port facilities and highway trade corridors. These will also have a positive impact on freight mobility and the movement of goods to and from America’s seaports.