Texas maritime ports
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Texas maritime ports

Texas ports are critical to the economic growth of the state and are key components of Texas’ transportation system. As hubs of international trade, Texas ports support nearly $450 billion in economic activity in the state and $1 trillion in the nation.  

According to a 2018 report by the Texas Ports Association, the port industry supports more than 128,000 direct jobs in Texas, generating $8.7 billion in personal income. An additional 1.7 million jobs and $102 billion in personal income is generated from economic activity dependent on the state’s ports and the industry contributes $7.8 billion annually in state and local tax revenues.  

The Maritime Division promotes the maritime industry in Texas and helps to develop the state’s maritime transportation system, including intermodal connectivity of each port to the interstate highway system and freight network.  

Together, Texas ports move more cargo than any other state—more than 607 million tons in 2020, including 464 million tons of international cargo and 143 million tons of domestic cargo. Texas ports also moved nearly three million containers and served nearly 500,000 cruise passengers, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Five of the state’s ports are ranked in the top 20 U.S. ports by total tonnage: Houston, Corpus Christi, Beaumont, Texas City, and Port Arthur.

TxDOT's port profiles  highlight more statistics related to each ports’ primary commodities, vessel and truck traffic, and port facilities. You can find out more information about each port by visiting their websites below:

Despite the strong position of the maritime industry in Texas, there is a significant need for additional funding for port capital and ship channel improvement projects. The biennial Texas Ports Mission Plan developed by the Port Authority Advisory Committee highlights these needs.

Federal funding opportunities

The bill includes funds to improve infrastructure at ports and waterways. Major programs and funding, over five years, include:

  1. The Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIPD): $2.25 billion
  2. America’s Marine Highway Program (MHP): $25 million
  3. Reduction of Truck Emissions at Ports (new): $250 million

The bill provides $22.1 billion over five years to fund certain programs for which ports are eligible to apply. This includes:

  1. Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity Grants (RAISE): $12.5 billion
  2. Infrastructure for Rebuilding America Grants (INFRA): $3.2 billion
  3. National Infrastructure Project Assistance Program/Megaprojects (new): $5 billion
  4. Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation Grants (PROTECT) Grants (new): $1.4 billion

The American Association of Port Authorities presentation on the IIJA provides more details related to port-specific funding streams.

For additional information on the IIJA, please contact TxDOT’s Federal Affairs Section.

Funding Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration

Funding Amount: $450 million (2022 funding cycle)

Funding Consistency: Annual

Open Application Period: Applications for the 2022 funding cycle are due May 16, 2022.

Notice of Funding OpportunityNotice of Funding Opportunity for the Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act  

Website: https://www.maritime.dot.gov/PIDPgrants

The Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) is a discretionary grant program administered by the U.S. Maritime Administration. Funds for the PIDP are awarded on a competitive basis to projects that improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods into, out of, around, or within a port.

To provide technical assistance, TxDOT will host a series of webinars explaining the Port Infrastructure Development Program grant application process. Details and registration information regarding these webinars will be made available.

The deadline to submit an application for the Port Infrastructure Development Program is May 16, 2022.  For more information, please visit https://www.maritime.dot.gov/PIDPgrants or email us.

Funding Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration

Funding Amount: Variable

Funding Consistency: Unknown

Open Application Period: Applications are due by 5:00pm EDT on April 29, 2022

Notice of Funding Opportunity: https://www.maritime.dot.gov/grants/marine-highways/notice-funding-opportunity-america%E2%80%99s-marine-highway-projects

Website: https://maritime.dot.gov/grants/marine-highways/marine-highway

The purpose of the America’s Marine Highway Program (AMHP) is to make grants available to previously designated Marine Highway Projects that support the development and expansion of documented vessels or port and landside infrastructure. The Department also seeks eligible grant projects that will strengthen American supply chains. The U.S. Department of Transportation will award Marine Highway Grants to implement projects or components of projects previously designated by the Secretary of Transportation under the AMHP. Only Marine Highway Projects the Secretary designates before the Notice of Funding Opportunity closing date are eligible for funding as described in this notice.

Grant applications must be submitted electronically using Grants.gov. Please be aware that you must complete the Grants.gov registration process before submitting your application and that the registration process usually takes 2 to 4 weeks to complete. Applicants are strongly encouraged to make submissions in advance of the deadline.

Funding Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency

Funding Amount: $100 million annually

Funding Consistency: Annual

Open Application Period: Open. Applications for the 2021 funding cycle are due May 14, 2021.

Website: https://www.fema.gov/grants/preparedness/port-security

Port Security Grants provide funding to state, local and private-sector partners to help protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness, improve port-wide maritime security risk management and maintain or reestablish maritime security mitigation protocols that support port recovery and resiliency capabilities.

Funding Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

Funding Amount: Variable

Funding Consistency: Unknown

Open Application Period: Closed. Applications for the 2021 funding cycle were due March 19, 2021.

Website: https://www.transportation.gov/buildamerica/financing/infra-grants/infrastructure-rebuilding-america

The INFRA program provides federal financial assistance to highway and freight projects of national or regional significance.

INFRA discretionary grants create opportunities for all levels of government and the private sector to fund infrastructure, using innovative approaches to improve the processes for building significant projects and increasing accountability for the projects that are built. In addition to providing direct federal funding, the INFRA discretionary grant program aims to increase the total investment by state, local and private partners.

Funding Source: U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)

Funding Amount: $1 Billion available for all RAISE grants; individual project awards vary

Funding Consistency: Annual

Open Application Period: Applications for the 2021 funding cycle are due July 12, 2021.

Website: https://www.transportation.gov/RAISEgrants/about

The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, or RAISE Discretionary Grant program, provides a unique opportunity for the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve national objectives. Previously known as the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development and Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grants, Congress has dedicated nearly $8.9 billion for twelve rounds of National Infrastructure Investments to fund projects that have a significant local or regional impact.

In each competition, DOT receives hundreds of applications to build and repair critical pieces of our freight and passenger transportation networks. The RAISE program enables DOT to examine these projects on their merits to help ensure that taxpayers are getting the highest value for every dollar invested.

The eligibility requirements of RAISE allow project sponsors at the state and local levels to obtain funding for multi-modal, multi-jurisdictional projects that are more difficult to support through traditional DOT programs. RAISE can fund port and freight rail projects, for example, which play a critical role in our ability to move freight, but have limited sources of federal funds. RAISE can provide capital funding directly to any public entity, including municipalities, counties, port authorities, tribal governments, MPOs, or others in contrast to traditional federal programs which provide funding to very specific groups of applicants (mostly state DOTs and transit agencies). This flexibility allows RAISE and our traditional partners at the state and local levels to work directly with a host of entities that own, operate, and maintain much of our transportation infrastructure, but otherwise cannot turn to the federal government for support.