The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration on Feb. 23 said that American ports facing backlogs will be given access to $450 million from the Biden Administration’s $1 trillion infrastructure act, as part of the White House’s attempts to ease the supply chain crisis and lower prices for consumers.
The supply chain bottlenecks have slowed the flow of goods to store shelves and have pushed up costs throughout the world.
“We’re proud to announce this funding to help ports improve their infrastructure—to get goods moving more efficiently and help keep costs under control for American families,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.
“President Biden is leading the largest ever federal investment in modernizing our country’s ports, which will improve our supply chains and the lives of Americans who depend on them,” he added.
The transportation secretary announced the first batch of competitive grants for ports, which will double last year’s amount annually for five years and is aimed specifically at reducing supply bottlenecks.
The transportation department intends to allocate mid-term and long-term relief for the nation’s supply chain, through as series of grants as part of the Port Action Plan, which will handle federal subsidies under the infrastructure act to upgrade what are considered to be dated port facilities.
The department is releasing a one-year report this week that will assess the supply chain.
The report urges better government cooperation and data-sharing with the private sector and a pledge of billions of dollars from federal grant programs later in 2022, to improve rail, highway, and water infrastructure, as well as the expansion of warehouse capacity.
“The historic investments made by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help remove bottlenecks by enabling ports to expand capacity and improve intermodal connections,” said acting maritime administrator Lucinda Lessley.
“The grant funds will also create new jobs across the U.S. maritime industry.”
The department awarded a round of $241 million in grants in 2021, including $52.3 million to help boost rail capacity at the port in Long Beach, California.
Last fall, the White House got major ports to agree to expand their work days and improve recruitment and retention in the trucking industry.
The administration on Feb. 22, also announced new private and public investments to boost domestic production of rare earth minerals used for electronics, as part of a bid to reduce American reliance on communist China.
The ports involved in the program have until May 16 to apply for the grants, which will be awarded by the government in the fall.
The grant program requests that “applicants to explore ways to include projects that will improve goods movement while also strengthening resilience, reducing emissions and advancing environmental justice.”