Port Funding Opportunities
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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: Applications for the 2021 funding cycle are due July 30, 2021.

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

The National Defense Authorization Ace for Fiscal Year 2021 (Pub. L. 116-283, January 1, 2021)("NDAA") and the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 (Pub. L. 116-260, December 27, 2020)("FY21 Appropriations Act" or the "Act") made $230 million available for the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) to make grants to improve facilities within, or outside of and directly related to operations or an intermodal connection of coastal seaports, inland river ports, and Great Lakes ports. The Act directed that $205 million of the appropriated funds shall be reserved for grants to coastal seaports and 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 minimum award size is $1 million, with a federal cost-share not to exceed eighty percent. The federal cost share can be higher for certain categories of projects. To provide technical assistance, the Maritime Administration will host a series of webinars during the PIDP grant application process. Details and registration information regarding these webinars will be made available at www.transportation.gov/portgrants.

The deadline to submit an application for the Port Infrastructure Development Program is July 30, 2021. For more information, please visit https://www.maritime.dot.gov/PIDPgrants or email us.

Port Security Grants

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.

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 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.

Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grants

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.

Marine Highway Program

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 June 25, 2021

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 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.

Applications must be received by the Maritime Administration by 5:00 p.m. EDT on June 25, 2021.

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.

For further information contact: Fred Jones, Office of Ports & Waterways Planning, Room W21–311, Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, phone 202–366–1123, or email. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 to contact the above individual during business hours. The FIRS is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during regular business hours.
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