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Biden-Harris Administration Opens Applications for First Year of $400M Competitive Grant Program to Reduce Truck Air Pollution at America’s Ports

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Reducing air pollution at ports is key for truck drivers, port workers, and surrounding communities

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration today opened applications for the first round of a new $400 million grant program under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that focuses on port electrification and efficiency improvements. This program is one of several ways the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda is investing billions of dollars in ports of all sizes to modernize their infrastructure, improve air quality, and strengthen supply chains.

The FY2022-2023 funding for the Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Grant Program totals $160 million. The funding will focus on projects that reduce emissions from idling trucks at our nation’s ports, which negatively impacts air quality for surrounding communities, including small children, truck drivers, and port workers.

“When truckers spend hours idling at ports, it costs them time, takes money out of their pockets, and pollutes the air in nearby communities,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “The investments we are announcing today will save truck drivers time and money, help ports reduce congestion and emissions, and deliver better air quality for workers and communities alike.”

“This new competitive grant program will modernize and update our nation’s port system by helping to combat a notorious source of air pollution,” Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt said. “Reducing the impact that truck emissions have on neighboring communities will help improve the health and wellbeing of port workers, truck drivers, and families who live nearby.”

The program is part of the Justice40 Initiative, which advances President Biden’s commitment to environmental justice by aiming to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.

The FHWA seeks to fund projects that reduce truck emissions in communities adjacent to ports, which disproportionately bear the negative environmental impacts. Port-related trade has increased in recent years and this activity has led to the queuing of trucks waiting to offload their goods. Port facilities, port workers, and surrounding neighborhoods often experience poor air quality due to significant truck congestion and idling both inside and outside the port facility.

Eligible project activities include:

  • the development of port-related infrastructure that reduces emissions from port-related truck idling;
  • on-truck technologies that reduce emissions from port-related truck idling;
  • the use of zero or low emissions powertrains or fuels on trucks;
  • reducing truck congestion within or adjacent to ports, including through enhanced intermodal rail connections; and
  • reducing port-related emissions from idling trucks, including through port electrification and improving the efficiency of port operations.

Further, the Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Grant Program will make possible more charging stations and electrical hookups for trucks alongside auxiliary electric power units that are used to provide power to the cab or sleeper berth while allowing the truck’s engine to be turned off and save fuel.

The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 is available at the program office website. See this fact sheet for more information: Bipartisan Infrastructure Law - Apportionment Fact Sheet. The program complements the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP), which provides grants to safety, efficiency and reliability of the movement of goods through ports and intermodal connections to ports.

President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is growing the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.