DOT Awards $2.2 Billion for Infrastructure Projects

Aerial view of a southern section of the Port of Los Angeles
An overview of a southern section of the Port of Los Angeles. The port will use RAISE funds to build a four-lane, rail-roadway grade separation to reduce thousands of truck vehicle hours traveled. (Port of Los Angeles via Twitter)

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Reducing truck waiting times at ports was a recurrent objective among some of the 166 projects awarded $2.2 billion in infrastructure grants announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“We are proud to support so many outstanding infrastructure projects in communities large and small, modernizing America’s transportation systems to make them safer, more affordable, more accessible and more sustainable,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Aug. 11 while announcing the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grants.

The funds are meant to modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports and intermodal transportation.

Significant issues affecting truck access to a key container terminal support facility on Terminal Island in the center of the Port of Los Angeles-Port of Long Beach area will be alleviated with a $20 million grant. The Port of L.A. will use the money to build a four-lane, rail-roadway grade separation to reduce thousands of truck vehicle hours traveled there and lower resulting emissions. The project’s goal is to improve access to chassis and empty containers, relieve supply chain constraints and raise cargo velocity. 

“The current total truck delays caused by the crossing are estimated to be 580 minutes a day, which can lead to containers being delayed by a full day, causing financial loss to shippers and a delay in getting those goods to consumers,” DOT notes.

The Tampa Port Authority in Florida will use its $12,000 grant to build a new berth at Port Redwing to connect to two other berths, enabling simultaneous docking of three large dry bulk/multipurpose cargo vessels. The added capacity will improve efficiency and is expected to lower truck travel by 2.84 million miles during its first year of operation.

The Port of Miami is receiving $16 million to expand intermodal rail capacity with additions including two new rail tracks and cargo gate optimization. Improvements will include roadway realignments to and from cargo gates, cargo gate canopies, staging areas for trucks, direct access to rail yard gates and gate technology upgrades.

In North Carolina, $18 million will be spent at the Port of Wilmington to build a dedicated facility for safe loading and discharging of containers to speed up freight movements to and from the port. The new intermodal facility will have a secured area near U.S. Customs and Border Protection-required radiation portals there.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) reacted to his state’s capture of six grants, including funding for the port and $10.7 million to rebuild 28 bridges across six rural counties.

“These grants are a big win for North Carolina, as the transportation projects will enhance the safety and connectivity of transportation systems in communities across the state,” Tillis said. “As a member of the bipartisan infrastructure group, I worked hard to ensure the package included investments to improve North Carolina’s roads, highways and bridges that were in desperate need of repair.”

Reducing truck idling and emissions while improving freight movements is another characteristic of a $13.6 million multimodal project for the Port of Port Arthur in Texas that will convert an abandoned rail yard into a modern cargo storage and staging area. When complete, the new cargo area will improve safety by having more room for workers to efficiently move freight while enhancing multimodal transfer capabilities.

“This is welcome news for Port Arthur. Our ports here in southeast Texas — and the petrochemical and maritime industries they support — are critical to the economic success of the United States, not just our region,” Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) commented. “This project will create new jobs and economic opportunities for Port Arthur.”

Utah’s Inland Port Authority will have $445,000 to pay for a planning project to assess the market and business aspects for constructing a multimodal logistics center to bolster supply chain efficiency.

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