U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced $1.5 billion in discretionary grant funding to 91 projects in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The grants, 14 of which will go to port-related projects, are made through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Grants program to support road, rail, transit and port infrastructure projects nationwide.

Port-related projects will receive a total of $229.23 million, or about 15.28% of the $1.5 billion awarded.

Direct funding for maritime infrastructure projects, including connections to ports, will improve freight mobility, which helps reduce transportation costs and makes U.S. exports more attractive to overseas buyers.

“BUILD grants are one of the few federal funding programs available to public port authorities to help them pay for critical infrastructure to move and handle freight more efficiently,” says Kurt Nagle, president and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), Alexandria, Va. “We’re pleased that port-related projects garnered nearly a sixth of the total amount in this round of BUILD. The $229-plus million in port-related awards will help leverage nearly $412 million in total project costs. Projects that aid the movement of goods through America’s ports should be a high priority for these federal grants, and port-related projects should be among the leading candidates. It’s also important that projects from the full range of port sizes and types receive grant awards in any future rounds of BUILD funding.”

Seaport cargo activity throughout the nation accounts for 26% of U.S. GDP, over 23 million American jobs and generates over $320 billion annually in federal, state and local tax revenues. To ensure these jobs, tax revenues and freight volumes continue to grow and support the American economy, AAPA worked with its member ports to identify $66 billion in federal port-related infrastructure investments over the next 10 years, on both the waterside and the landside. These federal investments are necessary to supplement the approximately $155 billion in capital improvements that U.S. port authorities and their private-sector partners are planning between 2016-2020. 

The following 14 port-related projects were approved for BUILD 2018 awards:

$5.79 million to Muskogee City‐County Port Authority, Muskogee, Okla., Port of Muskogee Rail Access. The project will construct rail and road access improvements at the Port of Muskogee, Muskogee, Okla., including track upgrades, expansion and realignment to meet current Class I railroad safety standards; State Highway 16 highway‐rail grade crossing modernization; and approximately 9,700 feet of additional track to expand the capacity of the existing marshalling yard.

$6.56 million to Maryland Port Authority, Baltimore, Md., Seagirt Marine Terminal Berth 3 Modernization P3 Project. This project will add a second berth capable of serving 50‐foot draft ultra-large container ships at the Port of Baltimore, Baltimore, Md., as well as necessary landside improvements.

$7.50 million to Pease Development Authority, Division of Ports and Harbors, Portsmouth, N.H., Market Street Marine Terminal Main Wharf Rehabilitation. The project will rehabilitate approximately 17,500 square feet of the Main Wharf at the Market Street Marine Terminal, located on the Piscataqua River, N.H., by replacing the deteriorating wharf access bridge and decking the area between the shoreline and the back of the Main Wharf.

$11.52 million to Owensboro Riverport Authority, Owensboro, Ky., KY 331/Industrial Drive and Rinaldo Road. The project will widen and improve approximately 2.6 miles of KY 331/Industrial Drive and Rinal Road from 2nd Street into the Owensboro Riverport Intermodal Terminal, Owensboro, Ky., and will reconstruct the CSX at‐grade railroad crossing.

$15.41 million to New Bedford Harbor Development Commission, New Bedford, Mass., North Terminal Extension Project. The project will construct approximately 800 feet of additional bulkhead, backfill of the constructed bulkhead with clean material from maintenance harbor dredging and extend three rail spurs to increase multimodal options.

$15.5 million to Virginia Port Authority, Hampton Roads, Va., Virginia Inland Port Terminal Optimization & Grade Separation. This project, near Front Royal, Va., will optimize the flow of traffic inside the port gate through the addition of three long loading tracks, lengthening existing loading tracks and acquisition of two hybrid straddle carriers. Outside the gate, this project will construct a new highway bridge grade separation.

$16.42 million to Greater Lafourche Port Commission, Cut Off, La., Port Fourchon to Airport Connector: Bridging a Gap to Critical Rural Infrastructure. The project will construct a new 3‐lane vertical lift span bridge over Bayou Lafourche located in the Gulf of Mexico and a new 2‐lane, 2,000‐foot connector road extending from LA 1 to LA 3235.

$19.41 million to Port of Morrow, Boardman, Ore., Columbia River Barge Terminal Rail Access. This project will establish rail‐to‐barge transloading capability within the Port of Morrow’s barge terminals on the Columbia River in eastern Oregon.

$20 million to Port of Coos Bay, Coos Bay, Ore., Coos Bay Rail Line Bridge Rehabilitation Project. This project will construct improvements or replacements of approximately 15 bridges along the Coos Bay Rail Line to enhance capacity, meet FRA‐mandated Bridge Safety Standard requirements and extend the useful life on the structures.

$20 million to Port of Port Arthur, Port Arthur, Texas, Berth 6 Expansion: Multimodal On-Dock Rail Project. The project extends the Port Arthur Berth 5 wharf approximately 1,000 feet to create Berth 6 as a crane‐capable pile‐supported wharf, including a tied‐back bulkhead and a cargo handling laydown area.

$20.7 million to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Carbide Dock Port Rehabilitation and Truck Route Reconstruction. The project will rehabilitate the Carbide Dock Port, Sault Ste. Marie, and reconstruct a portion of the connecting truck route on Easterday Avenue from Interstate 75 to Barbeau Street. The project also includes intersection improvements and water/sewer replacement.

$22.25 million to Delaware River and Bay Authority, New Castle, Del., Delaware Memorial Bridges Ship Collision Protection System. This project will install eight 80‐foot diameter sheet pile cells at the bases of the Delaware Memorial Bridges, which connect Delaware and New Jersey, to better protect the structural integrity of the bridges in the event of a ship collision.

$23.17 million to Emmonak, Ak., Lower Yukon River Regional Port and Road Renovation Project. This project will renovate approximately 3.5 miles of high-use service roads and construct a permanent barge/landing craft ramp and dock/wharf.

$25 million to South Carolina Department of Transportation, Columbia, S.C., Upstate Express Corridor Capacity Expansion Project. The project will make freight rail infrastructure improvements in South Carolina. It will expand the Inland Port Greer (IPG), extend the IPG lead track and lengthen the Carlisle Siding to approximately 15,100 feet. The IPG expansion includes acquiring additional equipment for the handling, loading and unloading of containers and the paving of up to 40 acres.