Buttigieg Awards $241 Million in Transportation Funds to US Ports 

Busy Port of Los Angeles
Cargo ships at the ports. | Image from viavado

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg awarded more than $241 million in grants, hoping to improve U.S. ports and speed up the movement of commodities as part of President Joe Biden’s plan to untangle America’s snarled supply chain.    

The transportation funds are being made available to twenty-five projects in nineteen states right away, according to PBS. Under Biden’s new infrastructure law, funding for port improvements will nearly double to $450 million in grants annually for the next five years.

“U.S. maritime ports play a critical role in our supply chains,” Buttigieg said during Thursday’s announcement. “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.”

On Wednesday, Biden touted the upcoming grants as part of a slew of initiatives to alleviate supply bottlenecks in the short and long term.

The grant includes $52.3 million to help expand rail capacity at the Port of Long Beach, California, with a new locomotive facility, 10,000-foot support track, and extensions of five existing tracks to speed freight movement while reducing the number of truck trips required.

“Earlier this fall, we heard a lot of dire warnings about supply chain problems leading to a crisis around the holidays, so we acted,” Biden said. “We brought together business and labor leaders to solve problems, and the much-predicted crisis didn’t occur. Packages are moving. Gifts are being delivered. Shelves are not empty.”

Houston will spend $18.3 million to increase storage capacity at the Bayport Container Terminal, allowing more export and import cargo.

Recipients, according to ABC News, include:

  • Portsmouth, Virginia, received $20 million to help develop an offshore wind supply chain.
  • Colonel’s Island Terminal in Brunswick, Georgia, will receive $14.6 million to build a fourth berth for cargo ships.
  • $1.6 million to build a 40-foot diameter pier on the Ohio River for direct barge-to-truck cargo unloading.
  • $2 million to Delcambre, Louisiana, for dock restoration and climate resiliency.

In recent months, higher prices have eaten into wages, turning public opinion against Biden in polls. Backlogged ports with ships waiting to dock at major transit hubs have caused shortages and depleted some store shelves.

The Transportation Department said on Thursday that the projects receiving grants vary greatly in their readiness to begin construction. It could take months for consumers to notice the benefits of the improvements.

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