USDOT Awards $241MM for Port Improvement ProjectsWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will distribute more than $241 million in grants to 25 port facility improvement projects under the Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP); six are rail-related and will receive a total of $86.22 million.
The three-year-old PIDP supports port facility and freight infrastructure improvements that boost capacity and efficiency; it provides planning, operational and capital financing, and project management assistance. The fiscal year 2021 program’s priorities related to job creation, climate change and environmental justice impacts, according to the USDOT.
The rail-related port project recipients are:
• Aberdeen Port Rail Spur Connector (Aberdeen, Miss.): Awarded $4 million for construction of 12,200 linear feet of new rail spur, which will provide direct access between the port along the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and Kansas City Southern. Construction includes sitework, utilities and stormwater management, and materials comprise rail, ballast, ties and turnouts.
• America’s Green Gateway Phase 1: Pier B Early Rail Enhancements Project (Long Beach, Calif.): Awarded $52.3 million for a new locomotive facility and extension of the east and west rail yards. The project will add a 10,000-foot support track “within a critical freight corridor”; construct a new facility for 24 locomotives; and add three new yard tracks, and extend five existing tracks to “increase operational efficiency for port cargo and enhance safety for rail workers,” according to USDOT.
• Infrastructure Improvements Project (Superior, Wis.): Awarded $8.37 million for repairs to an unused facility in the Port of Superior. The funding covers construction of a new sheet pile retaining wall, placement of tremie concrete behind the new wall to create a load-bearing surface, and installation of a concrete cap atop the new wall; rail and road work; and a stormwater management system, utilities, a shop and office building, and dredging.
• Off-Dock Container Support Facility (Tacoma, Wash.): Awarded $15.73 million to improve 24.5 acres of land on Thorne Road adjacent to the Husky, West Sitcum and Washington United terminals for the storage of empty containers and chassis, freeing up dock-side space for cargo operations. Work includes new gates, a guard shelter, perimeter security fencing, energy-efficient lighting fixtures, stormwater system improvements, and refurbishment of a railroad crossing adjacent to the site.
• Port Bienville Rail Storage Yard (Bay St. Louis, Miss.): Awarded $4.14 million to construct a new yard that will add 130 additional storage spaces, which are “expected to increase the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission’s storage capacity by 25% so that it can safely manage the current storage operations and address the current unmet storage demand,” according to USDOT. Two sets of storage tracks and a new rail siding will be installed.
• Radio Island Rail Improvements Project (Morehead City, N.C.): Awarded $1.68 million to replace existing tracks with those that meet FRA Class I track safety standards as well as existing ballast and ties, turnouts and switches, and crossing surface treatments.
For more projects, download USDOT’s award document below:
“These investments will support the shift to cleaner transportation, which will create more economic activity and good paying jobs,” acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley said. “The Port Infrastructure Development Program is an important part of building back better for our ports, our communities, our economy and our people.”
Going forward, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) will provide the program with $450 million annually for fiscal years 2022 through 2026, or a total of $2.25 billion. This is roughly the same amount of federal funding provided to ports under USDOT-administered grant programs since USDOT began providing funding to ports in 2009.