State Opportunities

Port Access Improvement Program

Funding Source: Texas Legislature via riders to the state budget

Funding Amount: $20 - $40 million per biennium

Funding Consistency: Variable

Open Application Period: Closed

The Port Access Improvement Program provides funds to Texas seaports for selected projects that address connectivity and congestion issues on public roadways outside the gated boundaries of the port. Funding for this program is approved by the Texas Legislature, typically through budget riders attached to a General Appropriations Act, and the funds are allocated from the Texas Mobility Fund or other sources. When funding is received by TxDOT for this program, the Maritime Division solicits project applications from the seaports and their associated TxDOT District offices; projects are then reviewed and selected for funding by the Port Authority Advisory Committee and approved by the Texas Transportation Commission.

Eligible projects for this funding must address connectivity and/or congestion issues and must be on roadways that can be accessed by the public due to constitutional limitations. Past projects that have been selected include improving and widening public roadways, adding truck queuing lanes in high-traffic areas, improving signage and gates at rail crossings and upgrading intersections near Texas seaports.

Ineligible projects include those that address:

  • Roadways restricted from public access
  • Routine maintenance, operations and administrative expenses
  • Planning studies
  • Channel improvements, security projects, equipment purchases and terminal improvements
  • Rail projects
  • Right of Way acquisition

For more information about previous projects, please visit the Port Access Improvement (Rider) Program page.

Port Capital Improvement Program

Funding Source: Texas Legislature

Funding Amount: None

Funding Consistency: None

Open Application Period: Closed

The Port Capital Improvement Program aims to provide funds to Texas seaports for selected projects that address capital improvements within port facilities. Funding for this program would come from the Texas Legislature, but as of the 2019 session, no funding has been appropriated.

This program is highlighted in the biennial Port Mission Plan adopted by the Port Authority Advisory Committee (PAAC) and is the only statewide maritime plan that addresses port facility needs. Project applications for the Port Capital Improvement Program are solicited from the ports by the Maritime Division and, using a PAAC-approved rating process, are scored and ranked according to project readiness and level of impact. In this way, the PAAC elevates matters related to maritime transportation to the Texas Transportation Commission and recommends strategic capital projects and studies to be considered for funding should funding for the program be received.

Allowable projects for this funding include plans or studies such as planning efforts, feasibility studies and project development and capital projects for improving port facilities, inland connectivity and waterways. Projects are scored in two of the five following benefit categories: economic impact, operational impact, enhances connectivity, improves safe and secure operations and other benefits.

Applications for projects were solicited in early 2020 for inclusion in the 2022-2023 Port Mission Plan. Funding for this program will be decided during the 87th Texas Legislative session in 2021, but based on previous lack of funding and the current economic crisis, no funding is expected.

Ship Channel Improvement Revolving Fund

Funding Source: Texas Legislature

Funding Amount: None

Funding Consistency: None

Open Application Period: Closed

The Ship Channel Improvement Program aims to provide funds to Texas seaports for selected projects that address improvements to the state’s ship channels. Funding for this program would come from the Texas Legislature, but as of the 2019 session, no funding has been appropriated.

The Ship Channel Improvement Revolving Fund (SCIRF) Program was established by the 85th Texas Legislature in 2017. This is a program to help finance congressionally-authorized ship channel deepening and widening projects. The SCIRF has not been capitalized, but should it receive funding, it will serve as the financial tool for non-federal sponsors (ports, navigation districts, etc.) to advance projects while they await federal funding.

As a revolving fund, once initially capitalized the SCIRF will provide non-federal sponsors of ship channel projects with loans to advance projects. As the sponsors repay the loan through a standard process, the SCIRF will regain the principal provided out as a loan plus accrued interest. In this manner, the SCIRF will become a self-sustaining stream of loans to sponsors and loan payments back in to recapitalize the fund.

 

Federal Opportunities

Port Infrastructure Development Grant

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

Funding Amount: Variable

Funding Consistency: Unknown

Open Application Period: Closed. Applications for the 2020 funding cycle were due May 18, 2020.

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

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (Pub. L. No. 116-92, Dec. 20, 2019) and the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (the Act) (Pub. L. No. 116-94, Dec. 20, 2019) authorized and appropriated $225 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) to make grants to improve facilities within, connecting to, out of, or around coastal seaports, inland river ports and Great Lakes ports.  The Act directs that at least $200 million of the appropriated funds be for grants to coastal seaports or Great Lakes ports.  Funds for the PIDP are to be awarded as discretionary grants on a competitive basis for projects that will improve the safety, efficiency or reliability of the movement of goods into, out of, around or within a port. 

The Port Infrastructure Development Program is a competitive grant program and awards will be based on merit according to the criteria published in the applicable Notice of Funding Opportunity.  

Port Security Grants

Funding Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency

Funding Amount: $100 million annually

Funding Consistency: Annual

Open Application Period: Closed. Applications for the 2020 funding cycle were due April 15, 2020.

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.

Infrastructure for Rebuilding American (INFRA) Grants

Funding Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

Funding Amount: Variable

Funding Consistency: Unknown

Open Application Period: Closed. Applications for the 2020 funding cycle were due February 25, 2020.

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.

Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grants

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

Funding Amount: Varies

Funding Consistency: Annual

Open Application Period: Closed

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

The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or BUILD Transportation 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 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grants, Congress has dedicated nearly $7.9 billion for eleven 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 BUILD 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 BUILD 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. BUILD 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. BUILD 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 BUILD 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.  

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