DOT Buttigieg

Photo: DOT/@SecretaryPete via Twitter

Buttigieg Announces $703M For US Port Infrastructure

John Konrad
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October 28, 2022

by John Konrad (gCaptain) Today, U.S. Department of Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg announced more than $703 million to fund 41 projects in 23 US states that will improve port facilities through the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) port infrastructure development program (PIDP).

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and additional Congressional appropriations are providing the funding for this effort to improve seaports. PIDP will benefit seaports of all sizes, including the Great Lakes, inland rivers, and Alaska. In addition, this will help improve supply chain reliability through increased port capacity and more efficient operations. It also funds new environmental initiatives.

To put this funding in context $703 Million is only 0.059% of $1.2 Trillion infrastructure money congress entrusted to Buttigieg under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is far short of the $5 billion in government back loans the Secretary Buttigieg and Governor Gavin Newsom promised California ports last October. DOT officials have not responded to gCaptain’s attempts to follow up on that loan promise.

Regardless of the relatively small amounts compared to overall DOT infrastructure spending, the port directors we interviewed are thrilled with the new funding and say this announcement arrived sooner than expected.

Also Read: SOS – Are Boomers To Blame For The Shipping And Supply Chain Crisis?

“This is wonderful news for our ports,” said one port director gCaptain interviewed. “We would have liked to see more money for alternative green transportation under the DOT’s American Marine Highway program but we can’t complain. This is a win.”

Creating a stronger and more resilient supply chain for the nation has been a key focus for the President who, in January, promised to allocate over $14 Billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other appropriations to rebuilding ports and waterways and bolster the U.S. supply chain. The President also appointed retired 4-Star Army General Stephen Lyons as Port and Supply Chain Envoy in May.

Also read: White House Port Envoy General Lyons Faces Three Major Challenges 
 
“So many of the goods we all count on, from appliances to furniture to clothes, move through our nation’s ports on their way to us,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “Using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this year we’re awarding record levels of funding to improve our port infrastructure, strengthen our supply chains, and help cut costs for American families.” 
 
According to Port Infrastructure Development Program documents, MARAD will take a more hands on approach by provide planning, capital funding, and project management assistance to improve ports’ capacity and efficiency.

The program funds ports in both urban and rural areas for planning and capital projects and includes a statutory set-aside for small ports to improve and their ability to move cargo regionally to support local and regional economies.

More than $150 million of the new PIDP awards will focus on electrification of port equipment to reduce emissions and improve air quality. The awards also include nearly $100 million for port projects that will advance offshore wind deployment to meet President Biden’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.

Select grants include:  

The JAXPORT EXPRESS Project ($23,518,000) 
Jacksonville, Florida 

The project includes five primary components: 1) installation of electrified refrigerated container stacks; 2) procurement of six hybrid-electric rubber-tired gantry cranes; 3) procurement of 16 battery-electric forklifts, ten battery-electric yard tractors, and seven Tier 4 diesel top picks; 4) installation of 15 high-power direct current fast charging stations and make-ready stub-outs; and 5) development of a replaceable and scalable plan for transitioning the port and local maritime industry to zero-emission technologies. 
  
Salem Wind Port Project ($33,835,953) 
Salem, Massachusetts 

The project will redevelop a vacant industrial facility into a marshalling area for offshore wind (OSW) energy projects. The project includes construction of a 700-foot-long wharf and bulkhead that will be able to handle oversized and heavy cargoes and will be able to serve as a loadout and assembly location. The project also includes improvements to approximately 23 acres of adjacent uplands to create a laydown area adjacent to the loadout and assembly space. 
  
Project Steel Wheel – Columbus Dock Expansion ($6,123,225) 
Columbus, Mississippi
  
The project includes design, engineering, construction, and inspection of a new rail spur with approximately 10,000 linear feet of track and three transload docks that will provide direct rail access for transloading cargo between barges and railcars at the Lowndes County West Bank Port. The port does not currently have direct rail access and the new rail spur will connect the port terminal to an existing railroad line operated by Kansas City Southern (KCS).   
  
Port of Camden Access and Infrastructure Resiliency Project ($25,000,000) 
Camden, New Jersey
 
The project will upgrade a functionally obsolete and structurally deficient truck route to improve access to the Port of Camden from I-676 by reconstructing nearly three miles of key roadway infrastructure. Project elements include truck turning radius improvements, pavement reconstruction, resurfacing and reconstruction of curbs and sidewalks, new stormwater drainage and green infrastructure, sewer repairs, ADA ramps, traffic calming, new traffic signals and crosswalks, improved street lighting, striping, and new signage. 
  
Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority ($27,223,711) 
Cleveland, Ohio 
 
The project consists of both development phase (planning, permitting, engineering, and design) and construction activities at the Port of Cleveland. It will modernize a 144,000-square-foot warehouse (Warehouse A); expand stormwater collection and treatment infrastructure; construct a modernized maintenance and repowering facility for terminal equipment; and install electric infrastructure to meet the power requirements of ship cold ironing and electrified cargo handling equipment.  
  
Grays Harbor Terminal 4 Expansion & Redevelopment Project ($25,500,000) 
Aberdeen, Washington 

The project includes the construction of an additional 50,000 feet of rail to accommodate unit trains; railcar storage; the repurposing of a 50-acre brownfield site into a breakbulk cargo handling and laydown area; access and roadway improvements; replacement of marine terminal fendering systems; and related site improvements. 
  
Port of Green Bay Site Development Project ($10,134,800)  
Green Bay, Wisconsin
 
The project funds the first phase of redevelopment of a former power plant site into a new port terminal. The project includes the following components: engineering services; clearing and clean-up of the existing brownfield site; construction of new dock walls and bulkheads; dredging; placement of fill behind dock wall and bulkheads; construction of stormwater collection and treatment facilities; installation of bollards and crane pads; asphalt resurfacing; new roads and utilities; truck scales; construction of an office building; and repair and extension of a rail spur with installation of three switches. 

“President Biden’s commitment to modernizing our infrastructure has resulted in an unprecedented investment in port infrastructure,” said Commandant Ann Phillips who is in charge of MARAD.  “This will enable us to move goods more quickly, strengthen supply chain resiliency, and reduce the climate impacts of port operations themselves.” 

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