Transportation Department announces $653 million in federal funds to strengthen nation’s ports


The Port Infrastructure Development Program, announced Friday by the Maritime Administration, aims to increase capacity and efficiency at coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports, and inland river ports as part of several dozen improvement projects nationwide. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 3 (UPI) — The Transportation Department announced $653 million in federal funding as part of a program to strengthen the nation’s ports. The Port Infrastructure Development Program, announced Friday by DOT’s Maritime Administration, aims to increase capacity and efficiency at coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports, and inland river ports through 41 improvement projects nationwide. Advertisement
More than $172 million will be handed out Friday to make capacity improvements at 26 small ports — money that will also be used to promote growth and clean energy efforts in dozens of regional economies, the agency said in a statement.
The newly unveiled funding comes at a time when a substantial portion of domestic and international commerce was increasingly reliant on transportation by water in the United States.
Supply chains along the West Coast have also struggled to return to pre-pandemic levels as incoming ships from around the globe encounter delays due to labor issues and limited capacity to handle a backlog of goods, resulting in higher prices for consumers.
The program — funded through President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — seeks to strengthen the supply chain, foster workforce development, and accelerate the flow of goods, while also enhancing the safety and resilience of ports, the administration said.
“Everything from the food we eat to the cars we drive to the lumber and steel used to build our homes passes through America’s ports, making them some of the most critical links in our nation’s supply chain,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “These investments will help expand capacity and speed up the movement of goods through our ports, contributing to cleaner air and more good-paying jobs as we go.”
After Biden took office, vessels waiting to dock at U.S. ports decreased by more than 90%, while global container shipping costs declined by more than 80% from their peak in 2021, the administration said.
The new initiative aims to improve freight infrastructure and transportation while providing planning, support, funding, and project management assistance to boost port capacity.
“Modernizing the nation’s port infrastructure is vital to the reinforcement of America’s multimodal system for transporting goods,” Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips said in a statement. “The advantages of cargo movement on water extend well beyond the maritime domain.”
Phillips said the funding would also be used to address the “negative impacts of port operations on public health and the environment that have harmed communities living near ports.”
The ports receiving funds were selected “based on their ability to improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods, as well as on how well they would improve port resilience,” the Transportation Department said.
Some of the cities selected to receive the initial round of grants include: Cold Bay, Alaska, $43.3 million; Long Beach, Calif., $52.6 million; Newark, N.J., $32 million; North Bend Oregon, $7.7 million; Ogdensburg, N.Y., $5.1 million; Wabasha, Minn.,$2.5 million; Wilmington, N.C., $10.9 million; Tacoma, Wash., $54 million; Freeport, Texas, $15.9 million; Milwaukee, Wis., $9.2 million; Blencoe, Iowa, $10 million; and Fort Smith, Ark., $15 million.


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