DOT Announces $1.5B in Grants for Port, Road and Rail Projects

By The Maritime Executive 12-11-2018 07:58:00

On Tuesay, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced a package of 91 new infrastructure projects across the United States worth a combined $1.5 billion. 

The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants - previously known as TIGER grants - give DOT funds to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects. Congress has allocated more than $5 billion for nine competition rounds to fund projects that have a significant local or regional impact. Over $1 billion of the funding announced Tuesday will be distributed to 60 road projects, according to Secretary Chao; $165 million more will go to rail and $146 million will go to port projects, including facilities on America's inland waterways. The American Association of Port Authorities put the tally slightly higher, at $230 million for 14 port-related projects. 

“We’re pleased that port-related projects garnered nearly a sixth of the total amount in this round of BUILD. The $229-plus million in port-related awards will help leverage nearly $412 million in total project costs," said AAPA CEO Kurt Nagle in a statement Tuesday. “Projects that aid the movement of goods through America’s ports should be a high priority for these federal grants, and port-related projects should be among the leading candidates."

Port-related grants in this award round include:

- $6.5 million for the Seagirt Marine Terminal Berth 3 Modernization Project at the Port of Baltimore. The project will add a second berth capable of serving 50-foot-draft ULCVs, along with supporting landside and channel improvements.
- $23 million for the Lower Yukon River Regional Port and Road Renovation Project in Emmonak, Alaska. The project will repair service roads and construct a permanent landing craft ramp and dock with two berths capable of handling 500-ton barges.

- $20 million for the SEMO Port Loop Track Terminal Project in Missouri. This project will construct a new rail-barge terminal, including a loop track for the accommodation of unit trains, a rail-to-barge conveyor system for unloading and transfer and a river barge load out terminal.

- $21 million for the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan's Carbide Dock Port Rehabilitation and Truck Route Reconstruction. The project will rehabilitate the Carbide Dock Port and reconstruct a portion of the connecting truck route.

- $7.5 million for wharf improvements planned by the Pease Development Authority for the Market Street Marine Terminal in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

- $20 million for the Columbia River Barge Terminal Rail Access project for the Port of Morrow, Oregon. The project will establish rail-to-barge transloading capability within the port’s barge terminals on the Columbia River.

- $20 million for Port Arthur, Texas' Multimodal On-Dock Rail Project. This project extends the Port Arthur Berth 5 wharf by 1,000 feet to create Berth 6, a crane-capable pile-supported wharf with laydown area and rail connections. 

- $15 million for upgrades at the Virginia Port Authority's Virginia Inland Port Terminal, an intermodal transfer facility with a 220-mile rail link to Hampton Roads. The new project will optimize the flow of traffic at the port by adding three loading tracks, lengthening existing loading tracks and purchasing two new straddle carriers.

- $6 million for rail access improvements at the Port of Muskogee, Oklahoma, including track upgrades to meet current Class I railroad safety standards; highway-rail grade crossing modernization; and approximately 10,000 feet of rail track.

- $20 million for the Port of Coos Bay, Oregon's Coos Bay Rail Line. This project includes repair or replacement of 15 bridges along the Coos Bay Rail Line to enhance capacity, meet safety requirements, and extend useful life. 

Port authorities, highway agencies and other entities from all 50 states submitted applications for this round of BUILD grants, with support from their elected representatives in Washington. In a statement Tuesday, Maryland's congressional delegation thanked MARAD for providing the Port of Baltimore with funding for Seagirt Terminal. “These federal funds are an investment in Maryland and all our working families, who deserve a stable job market and a healthy local economy," wrote Maryland's congressmen and senators in a joint release. "This grant will keep the Port of Baltimore competitive among deep-berth ports and will provide continuing economic dividends for Baltimore’s workforce and across the state.”

The Port of Morrow, Oregon thanked Secretary Chao and its congressional representative, Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), for $19 million in grant assistance. “This grant is a huge boost to the Port of Morrow and the economic development of the region,” said port mamager Gary Neal. “Greg went above and beyond advocating for us at the Department of Transportation with letters of support and working closely with Secretary Chao. I’d like to thank Greg for his help, and I look forward to seeing this project come to fruition.”