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Published: 16 September 2014

Tiger VI funds announced

Ports and rail freight projects feature heavily in latest round of TIGER Grants

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced 72 awards totalling $584M will be made under the sixth round of the Transport Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants. 

The list of “maritime” related grants (from the American Association of Port Authorities) in TIGER VI is:

Terminal 46 Modernisation Project in Seattle - $20M towards a $66M berth upgrade including an extension, new piling, crane rails and yard work.

Norfolk International Terminals in Virginia - $15M towards a $31M offramp to connect the terminal directly to the I-564 and eight acres of new yard space.

Port Newark Container Terminal in New Jersey - $14.8M towards a new gate complex and yard expansion. 

Wando Welch Terminal at Charleston - $10.8M towards the cost of structural repairs, new crane rails and piling for larger cranes and a deeper berth. 

Lake Charles Harbour and Terminal, Texas - $10M towards a new bulk cargo terminal.

Seward Marine Terminal, Alaska - $2.5M towards a new master plan. 

$1.1M for an Oil Spill Response Access Dock project for the Makah Tribe in Washington State.

Other “freight and port-related infrastructure projects” include $1.1M for a bridge replacement study in Baltimore and $2.8M for a similar study on the Long Bridge over the Potomac River in Colombia.

 Rail line upgrades feature heavily, with $8.1M for work on 55 miles of CSX rail line in New England, $5.8M for improvements in North Carolina and $250,00 towards a new bridge connecting Maine and New Hampshire.

The AAPA has been pushing for 25% of TIGER funding to be allocated to “port and port-related connector infrastructure” after these projects were awarded just 7% of funding in the first round. It has been very successful and that percentage has risen steadily to 22% by the fifth and sixth round.

More importantly TIGER funding has become a lot more focused on addressing bottlenecks in existing gateways, rather than projects that have ambitious plans to draw new cargo or achieve modal shift. 

Early TIGER rounds saw money go to several ports to buy mobile harbour cranes to try and attract new business. Some of these, notably the M-50 marine highway from Stockton to Oakland were not actually commercially viable.

The US Army Corp of Engineers also raised concerns that TIGER funding was going to ports that it did not regard as “nationally significant” in its dredging programme. That situation appears to have been addressed and terminals in the US main ports are now applying for and winning TIGER funding.

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