MARAD Doubles Funding to $450M for 2022 Port Grant Program

MARAD to ward $450 million in port grants
Port of Long Beach received $52 million last year in the grant program for rail improvements (file photo)

Published Feb 23, 2022 1:54 PM by The Maritime Executive

Expanding on its efforts to invest in the U.S. port infrastructure and enhance the operations of the supply chain, the Biden administration is doubling funding for 2022 to a Maritime Administration grant program. The Department of Transportation announced that it will be making available nearly $450 million in grant funding under the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) to projects that improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods into, out of, around, or within a port.

“We’re proud to announce this funding to help ports improve their infrastructure— to get goods moving more efficiently and help keep costs under control for American families,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “President Biden is leading the largest-ever federal investment in modernizing our country’s ports, which will improve our supply chains and the lives of Americans who depend on them.” 

The PIDP program established by Congress in 2019, is a discretionary grant program administered by the U.S. Maritime Administration. The 2021 infrastructure law passed by Congress calls for a total investment of $17 billion in ports and waterways. Using funding from the bill, the Biden administration said it would increase funding to the 2022 round of grants in the program to nearly $450 million, up from $230 million last year and $225 million and $293 million the first two years of the program. A quarter of the funding is dedicated to smaller ports with the deadline to apply for the 2022 Port Infrastructure Development Program set for May 16, 2022.

PIDP grants are awarded on a competitive basis to support projects that will improve the movement of goods to, through, and around ports. Last year, MARAD awarded 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 $20 million for Portsmouth, Virginia’s development of the Marine Terminal to stage wind turbines and other materials. Some of the projects also addressed inland ports and navigation. 

These grants expand on the investments the administration announced in 2021 to strengthen the supply chains to meet demand resulting from the surge in cargo volumes and rapid economic recovery over the past year. In January, the administration announced $14 billion in funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers devoted to ports, waterways, repairs from environmental damage, and projects to address the impacts of climate change. MARAD also awarded $12.6 million in grants in December 2021 to nine projects under the Marine Highway Program.