TIGER award to Port of Duluth will keep the cargo flowing
Each day at the Maritime Administration we work tirelessly to achieve our mission to foster, promote, and develop the merchant maritime industry of the United States. Ensuring that our maritime industry continues to thrive is an economic and national security imperative.
So, when the Duluth Seaway Port Authority was selected last week to receive a grant from DOT’s 2013 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) discretionary grant program, I jumped at the chance to visit the Port of Duluth-Superior and make the $10 million grant announcement.
Commercial shipping plays an integral role in the economic vitality of the entire Great Lakes region.
According to "The Economic Impacts of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System” report, there are more than 225,000 good-paying middle class jobs dependent upon commercial maritime activity in the area between Duluth-Superior and Montreal, with more than 128,000 of those jobs in the United States.
With these TIGER funds, the Port of Duluth will be able to refurbish a dock that is no longer structurally sound enough to support heavy cargo moving through the Great Lakes. Completing this project will connect the Port of Duluth to the region's existing highway and rail infrastructure, allowing expanded export capacity and efficiency.
Handling more and heavier cargo means the port improves its ability to compete in the global freight network.
This project--among many others funded through this round of TIGER--demonstrates the President’s goals of creating “Economic Growth.” By improving the movement of freight and reducing costs, economic competitiveness in the Great Lakes region continues to grow.
The jobs sustained and created by these investments are a huge win for our maritime industry.
DOT's highly competitive TIGER program offers one of the only federal funding possibilities for innovative, multi-modal projects that often are not suitable for other federal funding sources. This year, of the $474 million awarded, approximately $104 million is funding 12 projects directly related to moving cargo more effectively through maritime ports; eight of those, totaling about $63 million, focus specifically on port infrastructure.
Over all five rounds of TIGER, DOT has directed $417 million to projects at 33 ports, large and small, inland and coastal.
With recent visits to the Port of Miami, the Port of Jacksonville and the Port of Baltimore, and upcoming visits to the Port of Charleston and the Port of Savannah, it is clear that the Obama Administration understands how pivotal our ports are to America's economic security.
This year's TIGER awards further demonstrate the importance and attention being paid to the future of our Nation’s Marine Transportation System and the infrastructure that supports it.
Chip Jaenichen is Acting Administrator of the Maritime Administration.