Port Freight Projects Awarded $79 Million in TIGER IV Infrastructure Grants
Critical importance of connective infrastructure to America’s seaports recognized
After assessing more than 700 project applications equaling about $10.2 billion, the U.S. Department of Transportation today announced that 47 projects in 34 states and the District of Columbia will receive a total of $485.3 million in its fourth round of TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) infrastructure grant awards.
Of the 47 capital project funding requests selected for awards, eight go directly to America’s port-related infrastructure. These eight project grants total more than $79 million, or about 16 percent of the capital grant funds available.
“In his Fast Lane blog this week, Sec. LaHood reiterated the Obama administration’s ‘deep commitment’ to investing in our ports and marine highways to create jobs and keep American goods moving to markets. He went on to say that maintaining strong ports and a strong shipping industry, together with providing funds for port projects and developing a strategy for future maritime investment, are elements that the Department of Transportation is working hard to ensure,” said American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) President and CEO Kurt Nagle. “We applaud DOT’s recognition of the critical role our nation’s ports play and the federal support provided in TIGER IV grants for seaports.” Mr. Nagle added, “While we recognize there’s a lot of competition for limited TIGER funding, AAPA will continue to advocate for a permanent authorization of a TIGER program, and urge that 25 percent of future TIGER grants be provided for seaport related infrastructure, since ports are one of the four eligible areas (along with highways/bridges, transit, and freight/passenger rail) for the program.”
Since its inception as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, AAPA has been a strong supporter of the TIGER multimodal discretionary grant program. In the first round of TIGER grant awards, port-related infrastructure projects received only 7 percent of the original $1.5 billion. In the second and third round of grants, port-related infrastructure did better, garnering approximately 17 percent (of the total $556.6 million) and 12 percent (of the total $511 million), respectively, in capital grant funds available.
Projects directly related to ports included in TIGER IV awards are:
• Port of Oakland (Calif.) Intermodal Rail ($15,000,000) - to boost rail access and capacity at the port by building a new arrival track and high-speed turnout from Union Pacific’s mainline, two track leads into the port’s new Joint Intermodal Terminal, and a new manifest yard (Knight Yard) to replace the former Oakland Army Base Yard. Knight Yard will be able to handle 100-150 rail cars per day. The project is a crucial first step in the Oakland Global development program, a $400 million dollar effort to redevelop the former Oakland Army Base into a nationally significant trade and logistics hub.
• Garrows Bend Intermodal Container Transfer Facility ($12,000,000) – to enable the Port of Mobile, Ala., to improve and connect a container facility with the national rail system. The new intermodal facility will feature 20 acres of new rail yard for loading and unloading containers at the water’s edge and 1,225 feet of new rail bridge connecting to five Class I rail companies.
• Gulf Marine Highway Intermodal Project ($12,000,000) – to support the construction of a new 600-foot cargo dock on the south side of the Brownsville, Tex., ship channel, allowing for the expansion of marine highway container operations. The new dock will include railroad sidings which will improve the intermodal transfer of materials and containers to rail or trucks for inland delivery. The expansion will also provide a second heavy-load capacity dock for steel and bulk materials traveling through the Port of Brownsville.
• South Hudson Intermodal Facility ($11,400,000) – to expand the capacity of the Port of New York and New Jersey by building a new intermodal facility. New capacity is needed to accommodate larger, post-Panamax vessels that will be too big to sail under the Bayonne Bridge, limiting the port’s effectiveness. Funded improvements will allow for direct transfer of export and import containers from the terminal on the ocean side of the Bayonne Bridge to the national rail network. The port authority is matching these funds with over $100 million to the creation of the facility. When completed, the South Hudson Intermodal Facility will be capable of handling 250,000 containers per year.
• West Memphis (Ark.) Intermodal Rail Port Logistics Park ($10,953,244) – to upgrade and strengthen existing rail, allowing it to carry heavier loads. The project will extend the spur 13,500 feet to the base of the St. Francis Levee, allowing for direct access between rail and waterborne cargo. Future development of a loop track, transload facility, and barge dock will allow exporters of coal, grain, steel, and petrochemicals to expand into this multimodal port.
• Nueces River Rail Yard Expansion ($10,000,000) - to build new rail infrastructure at the Port of Corpus Christi, Tex., the nation’s sixth largest port. With new rail siding along the Nueces River, the port will be able to better accommodate more shipments and more exports, increasing the capacity and efficiency of the port. Currently, trains are routinely turned away from the port due to insufficient rail structure, forcing their shipments to be trucked in from farther locations.
• Port of Catoosa (Okla.) Main Dock Rehabilitation ($6,425,000) – to allow the state of Oklahoma to renovate the main dock at Tulsa’s Port of Catoosa, one of the largest inland ports in the nation. The river port is located at the head of the McClelland-Kerr Arkansas River system, the farthest point inland of any sea or river port. The grant will support resurfacing the main dock, realigning the on-site rail, and renovating a 200-ton crane.
• Port of Lewiston (Ida.) Dock Extension ($1,300,000) – to improve this inland port on the Columbia/Snake River System. In 2011, the Port of Lewiston exported cargo to 17 countries, including 85 percent of the regional production of soft white wheat, peas and lentils, making it one of the primary inland export terminals in the nation. The grant will be used to extend the port’s existing 120-foot dock by 150 feet. The current size of the dock limits the movement of the port’s unloading crane to a relatively small area. Currently, the barge or crane must be repositioned several times to reach cargo, a long and cumbersome procedure. Extending the dock will allow the crane to move along the entire face of the dock and provide access to two barges simultaneously.
For a complete list of TIGER IV grant recipients, click here.