Biden Administration To Accelerate Investment In Ports, Waterways, Freight Networks

As part of the efforts to address disruptions to the global supply chain, and on the heels of the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan, the White House has announced an ambitious Port Action Plan to accelerate investment in U.S. ports, waterways, and freight networks.

This action plan will increase federal flexibilities for port grants; accelerate port infrastructure grant awards; announce new construction projects for coastal navigation, inland waterways, and land ports of entry; and launch the first round of expanded port infrastructure grants funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, the White House said.

The main immediate actions are supporting creative solutions to current supply chain disruptions by allowing for flexibility in port grants and alleviating congestion at the Port of Savannah by funding the Georgia Port Authority pop-up container yards project.

As part of near-term actions, programs to modernize ports and marine highways with more than $240 million in grant funding will be launched within the next 45 days.

The Department Of Transportation will award $230 million for this program and $13 million for the Marine Highway Program to support waterborne freight service.

Projects for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction at coastal ports and inland waterways will be identified within the next 60 days. This plan will provide a roadmap for more than $4 billion in funding to repair outdated infrastructure and to deepen harbors for larger cargo ships.

The government will prioritize key ports of entry for modernization and expansion within the next 90 days.

DOT will announce more than $475 million in additional funding for port and marine highway infrastructure.

In addition to making the largest federal investment in American port infrastructure and freight networks in history, the Infrastructure Deal will invest in projects that revitalize other critical elements of the United States’ transportation infrastructure and supply chains. This includes an additional $110 billion to repair roads and bridges and support major transformational projects.

On Wednesday, President Biden will deliver remarks at the Port of Baltimore on how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal delivers for the American people by upgrading U.S. ports and strengthening supply chains to prevent disruptions.

2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure Report issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) warns that the nation’s ports face extensive challenges of modernizing infrastructure and maintaining essential facilities under threat from sea level rise and other climate challenges.

Only four U.S. ports are among the top 50 busiest ports in the world. Many U.S. ports also have bridge or depth limitations that restrict their ability to receive the larger, post-Panamax vessels that are the future of ocean shipping.

$17 billion is earmarked in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal to improve infrastructure at coastal ports, inland ports and waterways, and land ports of entry along the border.

“These investments will create good paying jobs and help America outcompete China,” the White House said in a fact sheet.

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