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Biden administration invests $653M in 41 port improvement projects

As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has decided to invest $653 million in 41 port improvement projects under the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP). 

 A significant portion of domestic and international U.S. commerce by weight (over 2.3 billion short tons), moves by water. The port improvement projects are expected to strengthen supply chain reliability, create workforce development opportunities, speed up the movement of goods, and improve the safety, reliability and resilience of ports. 

This is particularly important for coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports, and inland river ports.

“Everything from the food we eat to the cars we drive to the lumber and steel used to build our homes passes through America’s ports, making them some of the most critical links in our nation’s supply chain,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

“These investments will help expand capacity and speed up the movement of goods through our ports, contributing to cleaner air and more good-paying jobs as we go.” 

The PIDP improves port and related freight infrastructure to meet the nation’s freight transportation needs. The program provides planning support, capital funding, and project management assistance to improve the capacity and efficiency of ports in both urban and rural areas.

Awards announced now include more than $172.8 million for 26 small ports to continue to improve and expand their capacity to move freight reliably and efficiently, thereby boosting local and regional economies while protecting surrounding communities from air pollution. 

“Modernizing the nation’s port infrastructure is vital to the reinforcement of America’s multimodal system for transporting goods. The advantages of cargo movement on water extend well beyond the maritime domain,” said Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips.

“By funding port infrastructure development, the Biden-Harris Administration is ensuring that goods move reliably and in greater quantities, strengthening supply chain resiliency across all modes of transportation, and addressing the negative impacts of port operations on public health and the environment that have harmed communities living near ports.” 

Projects were selected based on their ability to improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods, as well as on how well they would improve port resilience.

Other factors considered during the project evaluation process included the amount of non-federal funding an applicant committed to the project and how well the project enhanced economic vitality, supported workforce development, and addressed climate change and sustainability.

These investments are part of the largest dedicated funding for ports and waterways in history – nearly $17 billion through the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

To remind, in May this year, the Biden-Harris Administration announced its plans to invest $4 billion as part of the Investing in America agenda to boost electrification of the US ports. The administration will fund zero-emission port equipment and technology and help ports develop climate action plans to reduce air pollutants, improve air quality and public health in neighboring communities, and advance environmental justice.

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