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U.S. Transportation Secretary Buttigieg Announces Over $241M in Grants for America’s Ports

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS — The U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary announces the award of more than $241 million in discretionary grant funding for 25 projects to improve port facilities in 19 states and one territory through the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP).

These grants demonstrate rapid action on commitments in the Biden-Harris Port Action Plan, which will strengthen supply chains to meet demand resulting from the rapid economic recovery over the past year, and help address inflationary pressures.

“U.S. maritime ports play a critical role in our supply chains,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “These investments in our nation’s ports will help support American jobs, efficient and resilient operations, and faster delivery of goods to the American people.”

The PIDP is in its third year and has already awarded $492 million for 32 projects of regional and national economic significance within its first two years. The program supports efforts by ports and industry stakeholders to improve facility and freight infrastructure to ensure the nation’s freight transportation needs, present and future, are met. It provides planning, operational and capital financing, and project management assistance to improve ports’ capacity and efficiency.

The projects that were awarded grants include coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports, and inland river ports. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 PIDP includes priorities related to job creation, climate change, and environmental justice impacts.

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By announcing these grant awards now, the department is making good on a promise in the Biden-Harris Port Action Plan that will take actions to address supply chain disruptions by helping to increase Federal flexibilities for port grants; accelerate port infrastructure grant awards; initiate new construction projects for coastal navigation, inland waterways, and land ports of entry; and launch the first round of expanded port infrastructure grants funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The projects to be funded under this announcement in the Construction News area include:

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi: Port Bienville Rail Storage Yard (Awarded $4,140,000)
This project will construct a new rail storage yard to support the existing operations at the port facility. The project would add 130 additional storage spaces, construct two sets of storage tracks, and a new rail siding. These additional spaces are expected to increase the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission’s (HCPHC) storage capacity by 25 percent so that it can safely manage the current storage operations and meet the current repressed storage demand — easing supply chain challenges. This placement will give Port Bienville Railroad customers access to their cars in a timely manner and increase the reliability of the HCPHC by decreasing the delays caused by congestion.
Aberdeen, Mississippi: Aberdeen Port Rail Spur Connector (Awarded $4,000,000)
The project funds construction of 12,200 linear feet of new rail spur in Aberdeen, Mississippi. The proposed spur would provide direct access between the port along the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and the Kansas City Southern Railroad. Construction includes sitework, utilities, and stormwater management and construction materials will include rail, ballast, ties, and turnouts.
Delcambre, Louisiana: Port Resiliency Improvements (Awarded $2,000,000)
This project includes a dock restoration project and investments required to establish an industrial fabrication facility at the port. Project components include dock refurbishment, debris removal, port slip improvements, and construction of several new small buildings.
Little Rock, Arkansas: Port of Little Rock Mooring Upgrade Project (Awarded $3,079,845)
The project will restore and expand the port’s current barge fleeting capacity on the Arkansas River, which is part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigational System. The project will replace 15 unsafe deadman ground anchors that are near the end of their useful lives with steel monopile dolphins. It will install an additional 32 dolphins in other locations.
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