DOT infrastructure grants include three maritime-related projects

The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT):

(WASHINGTON) — U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has announced the Trump administration intends to invest $906 million in America’s infrastructure through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program. The proposed funding will be awarded to 20 projects, including three maritime-related projects, in 20 states.

“This administration is focused on infrastructure improvements and this $906 million in federal funding will improve major highways, bridges, ports, and railroads across the country to better connect our communities, enhance safety, and support economic growth,” said Chao.

INFRA discretionary grants create opportunities for all levels of government and the private sector to fund infrastructure, using innovative approaches to improve the processes for building significant projects, and increasing accountability for the projects that are built. In addition to providing direct federal funding, the INFRA discretionary grant program aims to increase the total investment by state, local, and private partners.

INFRA advances a grant program established in the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Project applications were evaluated by a team of more than two dozen career staff in the department and selected based on established criteria to align them with national and regional economic vitality goals. The program increases the impact of projects by leveraging federal grant funding and incentivizing project sponsors to pursue innovative strategies, including public-private partnerships.

Additionally, the program promotes the incorporation of innovative technology that will improve our transportation system. The department will also hold INFRA grant recipients accountable for their performance in project delivery and operations.

Fifty-three percent of proposed funding will be awarded to rural projects. Six awards totaling $293 million are being made to projects that are at least partially located in an Opportunity Zone, while several other projects are located in areas near Opportunity Zones.

Demand for INFRA grants far exceeded available funds. DOT evaluated 173 eligible applications from 47 states, as well as U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, who collectively requested approximately $7.4 billion in grant funds — more than eight times the funding available.

As required under the FAST Act, Congress will have 60 days to review the department’s proposed project awardees. After the 60-day review period, the department is free to begin obligating funding.

Three maritime-related awards were included:

• The Port Tampa Bay in Florida will be awarded more than $19.8 million to improve capacity at Port Tampa Bay’s Hooker’s Point container facility to accommodate an additional 150,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually.

• The City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority will be awarded more than $6.1 million to upgrade an industrial park in Inola, Okla., with new structures and rail, and construct a three-mile rail spur connecting the park to the freight mainline.

• The Port of Houston Authority in Texas will be awarded more than $79.4 million to restore and strengthen approximately 2,700 linear feet of wharf and upgrade approximately 84 acres of yard space at the Barbours Cut Container Terminal.

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By Professional Mariner Staff