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February 17, 2010

Maritime projects get TIGER funding

Only a few maritime projects surfaced among recipients of recovery act funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation's $1.5 billion Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. It's a measure of the program's priorities that bicycles were referenced on twenty-eight of the pages of the official DOT hand-out and barges on only eight. However, those maritime projects that made the cut include some potentially significant ventures. Awards included:

Quonset Wind Energy and Surface Transportation Project

North Kingston, RI

Sponsor: Quonset Development Corporation

Total cost $36,490,000

TIGER funding $22,300,000

The Quonset Business Park, located on the west shore of Narragansett Bay, consists of the former Quonset Naval Air Station (surplused in 1974) and the adjacent Davisville Naval Construction Battalion Center (surplused in 1994). Most of the infrastructure was built during base construction in 1939 and 1940. TIGER funds will be used for pier maintenance, rail improvements and road reconstruction, which will support, among other things, producers of offshore wind power that will use industrial properties at Quonset as a base of operations.

The project will improve freight transportation at the port, achieve a state of good repair, extend the useful life of former military assets and increase port capacity. It will also improve access to industrial properties being marketed to alternative energy producers (particularly offshore wind), which will help increase energy independence. Quonset is a transportation hub on the northeast corridor and is well situated to divert freight traffic from congested Interstates to sea and/or rail, making container barge feeder service viable.


Revitalizing Maine's Ports

Portland, Searsport & Eastport, ME

Sponsor: Maine Department of Transportation

Total cost $14,000,000

TIGER funding:$14,000,000

The project advances Maine's Three-Port Strategy, a long-term strategy developed in 1978 to concentrate state investments in deep-water port facilities. TIGER funds will help the Port of Portland to upgrade the wharf and upland storage facility at the International Marine Terminal Facility; the Port of Searsport to invest in new equipment, including a heavy-lift mobile harbor crane; and the Port of Eastport to invest in storage space and conveyor equipment.

It allows Maine's ports to diversify revenue sources and positions them to move wind turbines and other "green" freight

TIGER funds will help Maine's ports improve capacity in targeted markets, including value-added forest products, emerging wind energy industry, bulk and break-bulk and containers, as part of a strategy to diversify business lines.


The Southwestern Regional Intermodal Freight Transportation Hub

Granite City, Madison & Venice, IL

Sponsor Tri-City Regional Port District

Total cost $20,789,550

TIGER funding $6,000,000

The project involves the construction of a public harbor on the Mississippi River that will be used for barge loading and unloading. Primary products to be moved are liquid and dry bulk products which will interface with associated rail and truck connections. The project will allow the Tri-City Regional Port District to expand barge, rail and truck transportation systems in the region and allow shippers, including Midwest agricultural shippers, to move goods down the Mississippi River from Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico without the use of a lock.

The project will contribute to U.S. economic competitiveness by reducing congestion on the Mississippi River and by providing new efficiencies and savings for Midwest shippers moving freight down the Mississippi River. Barge transportation is a low cost, fuel efficient alternative that helps reduce costs for shippers and makes their products more competitive. The project is consistent with efforts to maintain transportation facilities in a state of good repair. Improvements to the inland waterway network also encourage waterborne shipping, which is an energy efficient and environmentally friendly transportation option.


California Green Trade Corridor/Marine Highway Project

Oakland, Stockton & West Sacramento, CA

Sponsor Ports of Oakland, Stockton & West Sacramento

Total cost $69,300,000

TIGER funding $30,000,000

This is a collaborative effort of three regional ports in California to develop and use a marine highway system as an alternative to existing truck and rail infrastructure. The Port of Oakland along with the inland Ports of Stockton and West Sacramento have formed a partnership to provide freight service via barge, primarily for consumer goods moving by ocean vessel and agricultural products grown in Central California.

The marine highway project will improve the quality of life for Northern Californians by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants and relieving congestion and wear-and-tear on Northern and Central California's highways. The project will help reduce round-trip and overall truck miles traveled to and from distribution centers and port facilities in the area, with corresponding savings in fuel costs achieved by shipping goods by barge rather than exclusively by truck.


Reconstruction of Pier 29 in Honolulu Harbor

Honolulu, HI

Sponsor Hawaii Department of Transportation

Total cost $31,500,000

TIGER funding $24,500,000

In 2008, the Pier 29 container yard at the Honolulu Harbor suffered structural failures, displacing the international carrier that used it. TIGER funds will reconstruct Pier 29, adding approximately 12 acres of upgraded cargo yard while also increasing efficiency and safety in Honolulu Harbor. Reconstructing Pier 29 will allow the international carrier that was displaced to return to Pier 29 from its current location in Pier 1 where working conditions are becoming increasingly congested and untenable.


Auke Bay Loading Facility

Juneau, AK

Sponsor City & Borough of Juneau

Total cost $14,840,000

TIGER funding $3,640,000

TIGER will fund Phase II of the Auke Bay Loading Facility in Juneau, which includes an additional half-acre of storage, lighting, security gate and fences; a freighter loading facility and ramp; and a fisheries dock. The completed Phase I created a 1.75 acre gravel upland freight staging/storage area with highway access and a gravel loading facility. Phase I also installed a drive-down commercial fisheries dock and a freight loading facility dock.

The project improves freight transfer activities for Alaska communities that use barge and landing craft as primary marine services

TIGER funding will provide the remaining dollars needed to bring the facility to full operating capacity. This will result in much needed improvements to the durability of the completed portions to minimize lifecycle costs, increase economic competitiveness and finish environmental mitigation. Auke Bay will improve transport options and promote greater competition among transport companies serving outlying communities that depend on the Juneau regional transport hub. The Auke Bay Loading Facility will help deliver government programs to remote communities and contribute to lower costs of living and improved living standards. The facility is important to serving the needs of the fishing community by reducing the need for long and dangerous voyages around Douglas Island to reach Juneau, and provides almost direct access to Juneau airport for fresh seafood exports. The freight transshipment service is particularly important to Alaskans because Seattle-based barge lines no longer serve several smaller communities near Juneau.


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