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MARAD to Award $230M in 2021 Port Grants Including Wind Infrastructure

MARAD port grants to support wind infrastructure
Grants in 2020 included $10 million $10 million for a dock conversion at the former Avondale Shipyard (file photo)

By The Maritime Executive 03-30-2021 03:36:48

The U.S. Maritime Administration announced that it will begin accepting applications for its annual Port Infrastructure Development Program which provides grant funding for port and intermodal infrastructure-related projects. This year’s program, which will make a total of $230 million available to states and port authorities, will include a focus on climate change related initiatives and seeking to enhance support for the development of projects related to wind energy.

 U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced this opening of this year’s funding at yesterday’s White House event focused on the development of offshore wind energy programs. Buttigieg said that over the past two years, 12 percent of the grants under the Port Infrastructure Development Program included the anticipated development of wind energy facilities and the movement of wind energy components as part of their project proposals. This year’s grant funding the secretary said would bolster those efforts with an increased focus on climate considerations in the applications.

“Our nation’s ports are a key part of our critical infrastructure. They create jobs and make our economy more resilient and sustainable,” said Buttigieg. “This funding will build upon local investments in infrastructure to deliver long-term economic benefits to American workers and communities, while also addressing climate and equity.”

The Port Infrastructure Development Program supports the efficient movement of commerce upon which our economy relies.  The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to support projects that strengthen and modernize port infrastructure and support the nation’s long-term economic vitality. 

Fund for the 2021 grant program was part of the National Defense Authorization Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which authorized a total of $230 million for the program. At least $205 million of the appropriated funds are to be directed to coastal seaports or Great Lakes ports, with all of the appropriated monies to go to improve facilities within, or outside of and directly related to operations or an intermodal connection of coastal seaports, inland river ports, and Great Lakes ports. Funds are to be awarded as discretionary grants on a competitive basis for projects that will improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods into, out of, around, or within a port.

Previous grants have supported projects such as infrastructure resiliency and shore-side improvements to facilitate wind energy projects.