The following is the text of a news release from the Maritime Administration:
(CHARLESTON, S.C.) (Sept. 12) — U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced a $10.8 million TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant for the rehabilitation of the Wando Welch Terminal project, one of 72 transportation projects in 46 states and the District of Columbia that will receive a total of approximately $600 million from the Department of Transportation’s discretionary grant program. Maritime Administrator Paul "Chip" Jaenichen visited the Port of Charleston today to tour the project site and meet with port officials.
“As uncertainty about the future of long-term federal funding continues, this round of TIGER will be a shot in the arm for these innovative, job-creating and quality of life-enhancing projects,” said Foxx. “The new infrastructure we’re helping build at the Wando Welch Terminal means bigger ships coming to port here, which means more jobs and business throughout the region. It’s not just an investment in the port, but in the entire community’s future. For every project we select, however, we must turn dozens more away — projects that could be getting done if Congress passed the Grow America Act, which would double the funding available for TIGER and growing the number of projects we could support. For every project we select, however, we must turn dozens more away — projects that could be getting done if Congress passed the Grow America Act, which would double the funding available for TIGER and growing the number of projects we could support.”
As the U.S. economy continues to expand, increasingly larger ships that exceed the design capacity of the facility will call on the Port of Charleston to load and unload cargo. The TIGER funds awarded today will be used to provide structural repairs and upgrades to the wharf in order to berth the new generation of larger vessels. The Wando Welch Terminal project will also increase the density of the wharf, making the pier structurally sound enough to store increased cargo volumes. Ultimately, these renovations maximize the usage of this terminal which handles 60 percent of the Port’s exports.
“Economic growth requires reliable infrastructure,” Jaenichen said. “The improvement and subsequent transformation of this wharf not only result in safe and streamlined work environment, but also increases the opportunities for growth in the existing export markets at our nation’s ninth-busiest port.”
The Grow America Act, the Administration’s surface transportation reauthorization proposal, would authorize $5 billion over four years for much-needed additional TIGER funding to help meet the overwhelming demand for significant infrastructure investments around the country and provide the certainty that states and local governments need to properly plan for investment. The $302 billion, four year transportation reauthorization proposal would provide increased and stable funding for the nation’s highways, bridges, transit, and rail systems without contributing to the deficit. The Grow America Act also includes several critical program reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal highway, rail, and transit programs.
The department received 797 eligible applications from 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, an increase from the 585 applications received in 2013. Overall, applicants requested 15 times the $600 million available for the program, or $9.5 billion for needed transportation project.
Since 2009, the TIGER program has provided nearly $4.1 billion to 342 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico — including more than $491 million to 40 port projects. Demand for the program has been overwhelming, and during the previous five rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 6,000 applications requesting more than $124 billion for transportation projects across the country. Congress provided the most recent funding as part of the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, signed by President Obama on Jan. 17, 2014.