The following is the text of a news release from the American Association of Port Authorities:
(ALEXANDRIA, Va.) — After evaluating 627 applications, 50 of which were from ports, for the FY 2015 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced 39 awards for $500 million in funding to be made in the seventh round of this multimodal, discretionary grant program. Of those, five awards totaling $44.3 million, or about 9 percent of total funding, are going to commercial seaports or to projects that directly aid the efficient movement of goods to and from America’s ports.
Another $61 million, comprising four awards equal to about 12 percent of the total funding, is going to freight-related projects around the country which aid in the movement of goods, by rail and/or truck.
In a written statement, Foxx said, “Transportation is always about the future. If we’re just fixing today’s problems, we’ll fall further and further behind.” He noted that as the nation’s population continues to grow, there’s increasing demand for goods that require the transportation system to do more. “In this round of TIGER, we selected projects that focus on where the country’s transportation infrastructure needs to be in the future; ever safer, ever more innovative, and ever more targeted to open the floodgates of opportunity across America.”
American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) President and CEO Kurt Nagle lauded DOT’s recognition of the critical role America’s ports play and the federal support provided in TIGER VII grants for seaports. He also noted that the direct funding for maritime infrastructure projects in this round of TIGER, along with the additional grants for freight rail and truck projects, will help improve freight mobility, including connections to ports.
“AAPA urges that 25 percent of TIGER grants be provided for port-related and connector infrastructure, since ports are one of the four eligible areas (along with highways/bridges, transit, and freight/passenger rail) for the TIGER program,” said Nagle. “Furthermore, AAPA strongly advocates for a dedicated funding program for freight in the next surface transportation bill that prioritizes goods-movement projects which optimize and integrate the nation’s freight transportation system.”
Since its inception as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, AAPA has been a strong supporter of the TIGER grant program. In TIGER’s first round in fiscal 2009, port-related infrastructure projects received about 8.6 percent of the original $1.5 billion allocated. In subsequent rounds, port-related infrastructure did better, garnering 14.6 percent (of the total $600 million) in the second, 12.8 percent (of the total $527 million) in the third, 13.6 percent (of the total $500 million) in the fourth, 13.3 percent (of the total $474 million) in the fifth, and 12.4 percent (of the total $600 million) in the sixth.
The five projects receiving awards in TIGER VII that directly aid the movement of goods through U.S. commercial ports are:
• Oxnard Harbor District (Port of Hueneme) for $12.3 million. The grant will provide funding to help improve the intermodal infrastructure at the Port of Hueneme, including deepening Berths 1 and 2, strengthening Wharf 1, modernizing cargo handling infrastructure, and extending on-dock rail.
• City of Baltimore’s Southeast Baltimore Port Industry Freight Corridor Plan for $10 million. The grant will provide funding to help restore functionality to and enhance a freight network of roads and bridges that connects the Port of Baltimore to regional and national highway systems. The project includes the replacement of the structurally deficient and functionally obsolete Colgate Creek Bridge, roadway improvements connecting freight directly to I-95 to enhance truck movement, and complete streets improvements.
• Ports of Indiana for $10 million. The grant will provide funding to help construct a double rail loop and rail-to-barge transfer facility with additional rail and turnouts. The project also includes construction of a nearly mile-long rail siding extension that will allow rail carriers to deliver a 90-car unit train to the port. The project will also construct a truck-to-rail intermodal facility in the vicinity of Connector Road to accommodate increasing truck traffic expected from the East End Bridge over the Ohio River.
• San Diego Unified Port District for $10 million. This grant will provide funding to help modernize the port’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal by removing obsolete transit sheds and constructing a new laydown area for temporary equipment storage with on-dock rail improvements. The Port of San Diego is designated as a Maritime Administration Strategic Port and supports the Navy’s activities of ship building and repair services as well as national security emergency logistics.
• Port of Newport (Ore.) for $2 million. Funds from this grant will help construct an international deep-water marine terminal with intermodal (marine/river/highway) access. The project includes development of a wetlands mitigation site, grading of property, development of a 10-acre laydown area with asphalt, fencing, small work shack, a storm water collection system, transportation improvements to SE Bay Boulevard, and the extension of water and sewer lines. The constructed area will have an estimated 75- to 100-year life span.
For a complete list and description of TIGER VII grant projects, click here.