Great Lakes ports cite bias in infrastructure grant program

(WASHINGTON) — In a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg last week, the American Great Lakes Ports Association (AGLPA) called for regional equity in the distribution of Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) grants.

PIDP is the United States’ primary federal assistance program for port infrastructure. Funds are distributed annually via a competitive grant process. Recipients are port authorities, or other local public agencies, or private entities in partnership with a public agency.

The PIDP program was first funded by Congress in 2019. Unfortunately, during the program’s five-year history, there has been a bias toward East Coast and West Coast ports and an inequitable distribution of federal assistance, according to the AGLPA.

For example, in 2023, the U.S. Department of Transportation distributed slightly more than $653 million in PIDP grants. Great Lakes ports only received 2 percent of the total. West Coast ports received 42 percent and East Coast ports received 35 percent of the total.

When looking at the entire five-year history of the program, the same imbalance exists as shown in the chart below:

AGLPA graphic

During 2024, the AGLPA will be working with the Great Lakes congressional delegation to highlight this imbalance and urge the Department of Transportation to equitably fund Great Lakes ports.

To view a copy of AGLPA’s letter to Buttigieg, click here.

– American Great Lakes Ports Association

By Professional Mariner Staff