The Port of Long Beach says the federal funding it has been allocated through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help visiting ships transit the harbor faster and more efficiently, reducing transportation costs and cutting pollution.
Officials announced last week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is receiving $8 million in funding through the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Biden in November, to help with navigational improvements. The port is now providing details on how exactly the funds will be spent.
Last October, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed a Chief’s Report showing deepening and widening channels in the harbor would lead to a reduction in air pollution, improved vessel navigation, and national economic benefits of almost $21 million each year.
Among other features, the recommended plan includes deepening the Approach Channel from 76 feet to 80 feet, constructing an approach channel to Pier J South to a depth of 55 feet, deepening portions of the West Basin from 50 feet to 55 feet, and performing structural improvements to breakwaters at Pier J to allow for depths of 55 feet, helping big ships to transit more efficiently.
The funds awarded this week will help initiate and complete the preconstruction, engineering and design phase, the Port of Long Beach said Tuesday.
“Long Beach is home to the second-busiest container port in the nation,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “Improving the ability of ships to navigate channels here will have economic benefits for the entire country. Locally, creating navigational efficiencies will move ships through the harbor faster, reducing air pollution. There will be a good return for this investment, and we thank our federal partners for this allocation to assist with our comprehensive harbor-deepening program.”
Port of Long Beach last week reported its busiest year ever in 2021 with total volumes of over 9.3 million TEU despite congestion in marine terminals which has hit throughput in recent months.
“The Port of Long Beach is the gateway to the trans-Pacific route, the nation’s most important trade corridor,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal. “Investments made here have big benefits to the Port’s operations, reduce emissions for our communities, and move goods faster to businesses across America. We are grateful for the support.”
“We have a long-standing relationship with the Port of Long Beach and are pleased that this supplemental funding under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will assist the Port by keeping our federal waterways safe and navigable, and promoting economic stability for the region and our country,” said Col. Julie Balten, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the port to increase transportation efficiencies for container and liquid bulk vessels, for both the current and future fleet, and improve conditions for vessel operations and safety.”
City and Port officials also thanked Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, along with Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) and Grace Napolitano (D-El Monte), for their support in securing the funds.
The $8 million awarded to Long Beach is among $14 billion allocated from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other appropriations nationally to ports, waterways, and projects supporting climate resilience.
The funds, for fiscal year 2022, target more than 500 projects in 52 states and territories, the White House said in a statement last week. According to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, $3.936 billion of those funds will address commercial navigation improvements at coastal ports and inland waterways.
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