Why More Federal Freight Funding is Good News for Ports
When has more funding for anything not been good news?
This time its good news for US ports. The Transportation Department awarded $760 million of freight-oriented FASTLANE grants on July 6 that will help fund 18 freight mobility projects in 16 states. The money from the grants will be used to help alleviate congestion at the ports and the major land freight routes leading into the ports.
This new five-year federal transportation bill will help the road and rail bottlenecks that limit the movement of goods into and out of the seaports. With less congestion at the ports it should increase operating efficiency, save time and reduce transport cost for shippers.
So what exactly is the FASTLANE grant Program? It is an acronym for Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-Term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE), now you know and you won’t lay awake at night wondering what the FASTLANE program stands for, your welcome.
Fun fact the Transportation Department received 212 applications totaling $9.8 billion for the FASTLANE grants, more than 10 times the amount available. FASTLANE grants includes $44 million to the Georgia Ports Authority, $42 million for the Massachusetts Port Authority, and 32 million to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Other grants include $11 million to the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay and $7.7 million to the Maine Port Authority. The City of Seattle received a $45 million FASTLANE grant for a rail project that will link port terminals to the state highway system. The Port of Seattle said that it would add $5 million on top of the $45 Million grant awarded to Seattle. The States must develop a freight investment program before receiving any of the National Freight Policy Grants.
According to the Moody’s report, the 4.5 billion of FASTLANE grants through 2020 will alleviate but not solve the port congestion issues. Analyst Moses Kopmar said, “As ship sizes continue to grow and carriers consolidate their services at fewer ports, concentrated volumes, or surges, will further challenge throughput.” Kurt Nagle, President of the American Association of Port Authorities said, At least six seaports will be direct recipients or beneficiaries of projects funded by this year’s FASTLANE grants. Nagle went onto say, “While of course we’d love to see all of the ports’ grant application projects be funded, the fact that this many ports are receiving grants is a testament to the importance of America’s seaports in our national transportation system and to the economy. We look forward to additional vital projects being funded in the future.”
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