The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
(NORFOLK, Va.) (July 22) — U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today joined Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other federal, state and local officials to break ground on two major infrastructure projects at the Port of Virginia. Supported by nearly $200 million in federal funding, the projects will relieve congestion and delays at the port terminals and naval base, while reducing harmful emissions and increasing safety in adjacent neighborhoods.
“Ports like this one show us that having a first-class transportation system can attract first-class jobs and enable American businesses to ship goods all across the world,” said Foxx. “We are continuing to push for a long-term transportation bill that grows investment and enhances safety so more states and communities have the resources to make these types of critical infrastructure improvements.”
The I-564 Connector Project, which received $169 million in federal-aid highway funding, will provide direct access to Naval Station Norfolk and Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) by connecting the East Coast’s third-largest port directly to the interstate. Bolstered by the improved interstate access, the North Gate Complex project at NIT will use a $15 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to construct a new semi-automated motor carrier gate complex and expand the port’s entrance from four to 22 lanes. The TIGER program and federal-aid highway funds support transformative projects that generate economic development and improve access to reliable and safe transportation.
“Ports have historically provided jobs, trade, commerce, and passenger transportation for communities nationwide,” said Maritime Administrator Paul "Chip"’ Jaenichen. “Continued investment in the critical infrastructure on the first and last mile of our national freight transportation system is vital to our nation’s continued economic prosperity.”
When completed, these projects will improve efficiency and safety at the only port on U.S. East Coast currently capable of handling 13,000 20-foot equivalent unit vessels. It will also remove nearly 740 trucks per day from nearby residential neighborhoods and allow truckers to move more than one load per day between the port and Virginia’s many exporters and distribution centers.