‘Tiger’ grant announced for port projectThe Obama administration on Thursday announced $474 million in federal grants for 52 transportation projects in 37 states across the U.S., including $10 million for the Duluth port and $1.5 million for rural Minnesota highways.
By: John Myersfirstname.lastname@example.org, Superior Telegram
The Obama administration on Thursday announced $474 million in federal grants for 52 transportation projects in 37 states across the U.S., including $10 million for the Duluth port and $1.5 million for rural Minnesota highways.
The port project was revealed earlier this week by Minnesota members of Congress, and will be used to rebuild and expand the port’s general cargo dock at Garfield Pier, including bolstering the dock itself. Improvements to road and rail connections and dredging the adjacent harbor provide better ship access are included — part of a $16 million effort that includes $3 million in state aid.
The Duluth Seaway Port Authority already has set aside its $3 million share of the project.
“We could conceivably bid the project yet this fall and be ready to start construction next spring,” said Adolph Ojard, Port Authority executive director, adding this was the fourth year the port applied for the grant.
The federal grants are part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s ‘Tiger’ system — Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery — aimed at rebuilding the nation’s aging infrastructure and creating jobs.
The Tiger program is being questioned by Congress as putting too much discretion in the administrative branch. But on Thursday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said his agency is taking the story of the grants across the country in an effort to save the program for 2014 and beyond.
“These transformational Tiger projects are the best argument for investment in our transportation infrastructure,” Foxx said in a telephone press conference. “Together, they support President Obama’s call to ensure a stronger transportation system for future generations by repairing existing infrastructure, connecting people to new jobs and opportunities, and contributing to our nation’s economic growth.”
Foxx also said the administration is working to save the grants from automatic budget cuts, so-called sequestering, that could cut the money out of the federal budget if a new federal budget isn’t adopted.
Nationally, the grants range from $18 million for Atlanta to continue developing a city-circling beltway along an old railroad corridor to $20 million for Kansas City to develop a downtown streetcar to $10 million for Indianapolis to continue converting its bus fleet to electrical vehicles.