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USDOT Announces Over $220M in Port Grants

Monday, October 26, 2020

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Earlier this month, the United States Department of Transportation announced the award of more than $220 million in discretionary grant funding to improve port facilities in 15 states and territories through the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program.

“This $220 million in federal grants will improve America’s ports with nearly half the projects are located in Opportunity Zones, which were established to revitalize economically distressed communities,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.


Authorized by Congress in 2010 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 111-84), the MARAD Port Infrastructure and Development Program is dedicated to supporting efforts made by ports and port stakeholders to improve port and freight infrastructure to ensure our Nation's future freight transportation needs will be met.

Weerasaksaeku / Getty Images

Earlier this month, the United States Department of Transportation announced the award of more than $220 million in discretionary grant funding to improve port facilities in 15 states and territories through the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program.

The program provides planning, stakeholder engagement, operational and capital financing and project management assistance to ports and port stakeholders to improve their capacity and efficiency.

Through Law 111-84, the program authorizes the Administrator to:

  • Receive funds provided for the project from Federal, non-Federal, and private entities that have a specific agreement or contract with the Administrator to further the purposes of this subsection;
  • Coordinate with other Federal agencies to expedite the process established under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) for the improvement of port facilities to improve the efficiency of the transportation system, to increase port security, or to provide greater access to port facilities;
  • Seek to coordinate all reviews or requirements with appropriate local, State, and Federal agencies; and
  • Provide such technical assistance and financial assistance, including grants, to port authorities or commissions or their subdivisions and agents as needed for project planning, design, and construction.

The authorizing legislation also established a Port Infrastructure Development Fund for use by the Administrator in carrying out projects under the program. The fund is available for the Administrator to:

  • Administer and carry out projects under the program;
  • Receive Federal, non-Federal, and private funds from entities which have specific agreements or contracts with the Administrator; and
  • Make refunds for projects that will not be completed.

Awarded Grants

According to the U.S. DOT, over $220 million in discretionary grants have been awarded to 18 port facility projects, with eight located in Opportunity Zones.

“This critical investment demonstrates the Trump Administration’s commitment to supporting our nation’s ports and maritime industry,” said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby. “These grants will help our nation’s economy and ensure that America’s ports can continue to operate effectively in the competitive global marketplace.”

The funding was made available after the U.S. DOT announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity in March. After receiving the applications, the Department evaluated the projects based on goods movement, federal funding leverage, net benefits, project readiness, domestic preference and geographic diversity, among other things.

Additionally, the Department will also considered how the project addresses challenges faced by being rurally located and if the project is in an Opportunity Zone.

Awarded projects include:

  • Seward, Alaska’s Marine Terminal Freight Dock & Corridor Improvements (awarded $19,779,425);
  • Los Angles’ SR 47-Vincent Thomas Bridge & Harbor Boulevard-Front Street Interchange Improvement Project (awarded : $9,880,000);
  • Palm Beach, Florida’s On-dock rail facility development (awarded $13,224,090);
  • Burns Harbor, Indiana’s Burns Harbor Bulk Storage Facility (awarded $4,000,000);
  • Avondale, Louisiana’s Avondale Dock Conversion Project (awarded $9,880,000);
  • Baltimore’s Sparrows Point Bulk Expansion Rail Modernization and Berth Rehabilitation Mid-Atlantic Multi-Modal Transportation Hub (awarded $9,880,000);
  • Portland, Maine’s Linking Intermodal Needs and Rural Freight Knowledge - LINK Project (awarded $4,098,360);
  • Kansas City’s Missouri River Terminal Intermodal Facility (awarded $9,880,000);
  • Wilmington, North Carolina’s Container Gate Innovation & Access (awarded $16,073,244);
  • Conneaut, Ohio’s Port of Conneaut Connector (awarded $19,527,640);
  • Coos Bay, Oregon’s Coos Bay Rail Line Phase II Tie and Surfacing Program (awarded $9,880,000);
  • North Kingstown, Rhode Island’s Unlocking the South Berth at Pier 1 (awarded $11,141,000);
  • Brownsville, Texas’ Grain & Bulk Handling Facility Development, Expansion and Upgrade Project (awarded $14,504,850);
  • Port Arthur, Texas’ Port of Port Arthur Navigation District (awarded $9,722,223);
  • Norfolk, Virginia’s Norfolk International Terminals Central Rail Yard Expansion Project (awarded $20,184,999);
  • St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands’ Crown Bay Terminal Improvements Project (awarded $21,869,260);
  • Bellingham, Washington’s Bellingham Shipping Terminal Rehabilitation Project (awarded $6,854,770); and
  • Seattle’s Terminal 5 Uplands Modernization and Rehabilitation Project: Final Phase (awarded $10,687,333).

Through the funding provided, MARAD and the Department of Transportation aims to support the improvement of the various infrastructure components, in addition to the nation’s ongoing economic recovery.


Tagged categories: Awards and honors; Department of Transportation (DOT); Funding; Government; Grants; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Port Infrastructure; Program/Project Management; Project Management

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