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MARAD Increases Port Infrastructure Grants to $684 Million in 2022

MARAD increases port grants for 2022
Port of Long Beach received $52 million last year in the grant program for rail improvements (file photo)

Published May 9, 2022 6:05 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Department of Transportation is again doubling the monies to be awarded in 2022 for port infrastructure investments through the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program. The additional $234.3 million added to the program is in addition to the $450 million in funding announced earlier this year, which already represented a doubling of funding for projects related to port infrastructure and environmental programs.

The total of $684.3 million in funding for ports infrastructure grants 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 U.S. Congress to include projects that reduce or eliminate port-related criteria pollutant or greenhouse gas emissions.

“Under President Biden’s leadership, we are making a once-in-a-generation investment in our ports and intermodal infrastructure to move goods faster, strengthen supply chain resiliency, support economic vitality at both the national and regional levels, and address climate change and environmental justice impacts,” said Acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley. 

MARAD in February 2022 announced that funding for the program would be doubled to $450 million this year. The latest 50 percent increase comes from the FY 2022 Appropriations Act passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Biden in March 2022. Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress in 2021, a total of $17 billion is to be invested in ports and waterways, as well as rebuilding America’s roads, bridges and rails, upgrading and expanding public transit, and related environmental projects.

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.