The flow of intermodal traffic carried by the nation's railroads is critically dependent on efficiently functioning ports.
Unloading inbound containers from a ship to load on a train, and unloading outbound containers from a train and onto a ship as quickly and efficiently as possible can make or break the strength of the supply chain. For example, while the recent clogging of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach due to COVID have required ships to drop anchor off the coast of California and wait, reminds us of times in the past where these ports suffered significant delays, with ships parked off the coast.
So, it was likely some relief to both the maritime industry and those railroads that handle heavy international intermodal traffic to learn about the U.S. DOT’s new funding for the strengthening of port infrastructure. The following is a U.S. DOT news release on this funding.
“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) encouraging states and port authorities to apply for $230 million in discretionary grant funding for port and intermodal infrastructure-related projects through the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP).
“’Our nation’s ports are a key part of our critical infrastructure. They create jobs and make our economy more resilient and sustainable,’” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “’This funding will build upon local investments in infrastructure to deliver long-term economic benefits to American workers and communities, while also addressing climate and equity.’
“Secretary Buttigieg announced this funding at a White House event focused on the development of offshore wind energy programs. Over the past two years, 12 percent of Port Infrastructure Development Program grant applicants included the anticipated development of wind energy facilities and the movement of wind energy components as part of their project proposals. This year’s grant funding will bolster these efforts. More information about the development of these offshore wind energy programs can be found here.
“The Port Infrastructure Development Program supports the efficient movement of commerce upon which our economy relies. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to support projects that strengthen and modernize port infrastructure and support the Nation’s long-term economic vitality. In keeping with the priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration, the Department’s review process will also consider how proposed projects address climate change and environmental justice impacts and advance racial equity, reduce barriers to opportunity, and meet challenges faced by rural areas.
“’State and local authorities are working to position ports to take advantage of a clean energy economy,’ said Acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley. ‘These infrastructure grants will continue to bolster their efforts while creating jobs in these communities and the U.S. maritime industry as a whole.’
“Previous grants have supported projects such as infrastructure resiliency and shore-side improvements to facilitate wind energy projects.
“The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, made $230 million available for the Port Infrastructure Development Program, with $205 million reserved for grants to coastal seaports and Great Lakes ports. The minimum award size is $1 million, with a Federal cost-share not to exceed eighty percent. The Federal cost share can be higher for certain categories of projects. To provide technical assistance, the Department will host a series of webinars during the Port Infrastructure Development Program grant application process. Details and registration information regarding these webinars will be made available at www.transportation.gov/portgrants.
“The deadline to submit an application for the Port Infrastructure Development Program is July 30, 2021. For more information, please visit https://www.maritime.dot.gov/PIDPgrants or email [email protected]. “