Biden Administration awards $653 million to upgrade U.S. ports

November 3, 2023

The Department of Transportation on Friday awarded $653 million in grants to upgrade 41 U.S. water-based ports.

The grants are part of the $1 trillion Bipartsan Infrastructure Law that President Biden signed in 2021, and will cover projects to upgrade U.S. coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports, and inland river ports. 

“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 announced today will strengthen supply chain reliability, create workforce development opportunities, speed up the movement of goods, and improve the safety, reliability and resilience of ports,” the DOT said in a statement.

During a call with reporters, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg noted that the supply chain challenges sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic drove up prices in 2021. He said the goal of the projects is to improve port infrastructure so as to “strengthen those supply chains in a durable fashion.”

“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,” Buttigieg said in the DOT’s statement. “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.”

Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips added, “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.”

The grants included $43.4 million to replace a dock in Cold Bay, Alaska; $52.6 million for upgrades at the Port of Long Beach, California, including rail expansion to help move cargo; and $32 million to help the Port of Newark, New Jersey to reconstruct a berth.

PHOTO: Port of Long Beach, California in 2020 by Don Ramey Logan

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