U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach this week to meet with port and local leaders and to see the work that is underway to ease congestion and bottlenecks in our supply chain.
According to a U.S. Department of Transportation press release, the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force has been working hand in hand with both ports to address supply chain challenges, including proposing fines on ocean carriers, which has helped reduce long dwelling containers at the ports by 40 percent.
Recently Buttigieg announced USDOT grants totaling more than $241 million in discretionary grant funding for 25 projects to improve port facilities in 19 states and one territory through the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP).
According to the release, the infrastructure grants demonstrate rapid action on commitments in the Biden-Harris Port Action Plan, which will strengthen our supply chains to meet demand resulting from the rapid economic recovery over the past year and help address inflationary pressures.
“U.S. maritime ports play a critical role in our supply chains,” said Buttigieg. “These investments in our nation’s ports will help support American jobs, efficient and resilient operations, and faster delivery of goods to the American people.”
The PIDP is in its third year and has already awarded $492 million for 32 projects of regional and national economic significance within its first two years. The program supports efforts by ports and industry stakeholders to improve facility and freight infrastructure to ensure the Nation’s freight transportation needs, present and future, are met. It provides planning and capital financing and project management assistance to improve ports’ capacity and efficiency.
The projects that were awarded grants include coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports, and inland river ports. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 PIDP includes priorities related to job creation, climate change, and environmental justice impacts.
“These investments will support the shift to cleaner transportation, which will create more economic activity and good paying jobs,” said the Acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley. “The Port Infrastructure Development Program is an important part of building back better for our ports, our communities, our economy, and our people.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will rebuild America’s roads, bridges, and rails; upgrade and expand public transit; modernize the Nation’s ports and airports; improve safety; tackle the climate crisis; advance environmental justice; and invest in communities that have too often been left behind. It will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come.
Going forward, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will provide $450 million annually in funding for the PIDP program for fiscal years 2022 through 2026, or a total of $2.25 billion. This is roughly the same amount of federal funding provided to ports under DOT-administered grant programs since the DOT began providing funding to ports in 2009.
Ports provide high quality union jobs for Americans and are key to a nation that heavily relies on its maritime services. By providing the funding to support the improvement of this critical infrastructure, MARAD and the Department are ensuring these services will succeed during the Nation’s ongoing economic recovery.
All PIDP grant award recipients must apply, comply with, and implement all provisions of the Buy American Act, the USDOT said.
The Long Beach port grant includes America’s Green Gateway Phase 1: Pier B Early Rail Enhancements Project (awarded: $52,300,000).
The project includes a new locomotive facility, extension of the east rail yard, and extension of the west rail yard. The project will add a 10,000-foot support track within a critical supply chain corridor, construct a new support facility for 24 locomotives, add three new yard tracks, and extend five existing tracks to increase operational efficiency for port cargo and enhance safety for rail workers.