The US Department of Transportation added $234.3 million to its previously announced $450 million this year for port infrastructure investments through the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program. The $684.3 million is the highest level of funding ever made available for the program. The grants which are awarded on a competitive basis go to projects that improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of goods into, out of, around, or within a port. Coastal seaports, inland river ports, and Great Lakes ports are eligible to receive funding and this year the program was expanded as part of the infrastructure law passed by the US Congress to include projects that reduce or eliminate port-related criteria pollutant or greenhouse gas emissions.
Last year’s program awarded $241 million in funds to 25 projects to improve port facilities in 19 states and one territory. Among the largest grants were $52 million for a rail expansion project at the Port of Long Beach, $18 million toward the expansion of Houston’s Bayport Container Terminal, nearly $16 million to Tacoma for an off-dock container storage facility, and nearly $15 million to Brunswick, Georgia for the development of a fourth Ro-Ro berth for the auto industry. Other projects supported the developing offshore wind industry with $29.5 million for the wind tower port manufacturing project in Albany, New York, and $20 million for Portsmouth, Virginia’s development of the Marine Terminal to stage wind turbines and other materials. Smaller grants addressed inland ports and navigation.