The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd):
(WASHINGTON) — U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administrator Paul "Chip" Jaenichen today joined Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, Rep. Rick Nolan, Duluth Mayor Don Ness, local officials and port representatives in the groundbreaking of the Port of Duluth intermodal project. The $17.7 million project received $10 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIGER discretionary grant program. This important project will connect water, road and rail infrastructure, which will increase freight capacity and efficiency at the port.
“When we invest in port infrastructure, we invest in an efficient transportation system that connects goods to Americans and American communities to opportunity,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This project underscores the need for federal funding certainty and a long-term transportation bill, like the administration’s Grow America Act, so we can spread this type of success from coast to coast.”
The Duluth intermodal project will rehabilitate, rebuild and expand a 28-acre general cargo dock at the Port of Duluth-Superior that is no longer structurally sound. The improved dock will support additional heavy-lift and project cargo moved through the Great Lakes. Also, connecting Duluth’s Dock C&D to the nation’s highway and rail network will facilitate more environmentally sustainable freight transportation. The completion of this project will bolster the economic competitiveness of the region by increasing import and export capacity and helping to promote increased U.S. exports via the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System.
“TIGER grant investments continue to serve local communities while producing widespread national benefits,” said Jaenichen. “While the secretary just announced a seventh round of TIGER grant funding availability, we know that that the program is in strong demand and unable to meet the overall need for transportation projects. This is why it’s critical that we take the necessary steps to establish long-term infrastructure funding, giving transportation stakeholders the certainty they need to keep America moving.”
On April 2, Foxx announced that $500 million will be available for transportation projects across the country under a seventh round of the TIGER competitive grant program. Additionally, earlier this year the administration announced its plan for a long-term transportation bill, the Grow America Act, which is a $478 billion, six-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal. Grow America would make critical investments in roads, bridges and other infrastructure needed to promote long-term economic growth, enhance safety and efficiency and support jobs including, increasing the funds available for TIGER to $7.5 billion, or $1.25 billion for the next six years.