WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) today announced it is proposing to award the South Jersey Port Corporation a $9 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant to improve the Port of Salem, helping to alleviate traffic congestion and wear and tear on surrounding roads. This grant will also help the local economy and create jobs in New Jersey.
“These timely investments in our infrastructure will create jobs and support regional economies, while helping to spur innovation, confront climate change, and address inequities across the country,” said Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
The project will rehabilitate a 150-linear-foot bulkhead and extend it to approximately 500 linear feet; dredge the new berth; acquire an adjacent approximate 6-acre former glass manufacturing facility; and perform site preparation, improvements, and refurbish a multi-modal rail connection. The project supports economic vitality by expanding the Port’s barge capacity and allowing shipments of concrete and sand to the New York City area by barge rather than by truck. The reduction in truck miles traveled will alleviate issues that face the New Jersey Interstate Highway System such as congestion and roadway maintenance costs. The project also directly supports the renewable energy supply chain, as the improvements will allow the Port to accommodate the vessels that assist the manufacturing, assembly, and transport of large wind energy components in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
INFRA grants were selected based on several criteria. In addition to prioritizing projects that would improve local economies, create jobs, and meet all statutory requirements, for the first time in USDOT’s history, grants were considered by how they would address climate change, environmental justice, and racial equity.
Further, USDOT prioritized funding to rural areas to address historic underinvestment. Approximately 44% of proposed funding will be awarded to rural projects, which exceeded INFRA’s statutory requirement by 19%. INFRA projects were also rated on the extent that they applied innovative technology and whether they could deliver projects in a cost-effective manner.
Demand for INFRA grants far exceeded available funds. USDOT evaluated 157 eligible applications from 42 states, as well as Guam. Applicants collectively requested approximately $6.8 billion in grant funds—more than seven times the funding available.
As required under the FAST Act, Congress will have 60 days to review the Department’s proposed project awardees. After the 60-day review period, the Department is free to begin obligating funding.
The full list of proposed awards is on the Department of Transportation’s website:https://www.transportation.gov/buildamerica/financing/infra-grants/infra-2021-fact-sheets.
More information can be found on the Department’s INFRA site located at: www.transportation.gov/INFRA