Washington, DC—September 9, 2013 – Today, Vice President Joe Biden announced an additional $10 million in TIGER grants to finalize the Port of Baltimore's post-Panamax transition and expand the port’s capacity for exports. In combination with the existing public-private partnerships, these TIGER grants will set the Port of Baltimore apart as one of just two East Coast ports, along with the Port of Virginia, able to accommodate supertankers from the expanded Panama Canal.
“I applaud the Vice President and the Obama Administration for their commitment to rebuilding our nation’s ports. The additional TIGER grant funding advances the ability of Baltimore and our nation’s East Coast ports to compete in the global economy,” said former Pennsylvania Governor and co-chair of Building America’s Future Ed Rendell. “It’s encouraging to see the Administration’s commitment to public-private partnerships, which can help rebuild our nation's infrastructure and economy.”
The announcement by Vice President Biden, the White House, and the Department of Transportation is part of an effort to prepare the U.S. for the increased freight that will result from the completion of the Panama Canal expansion in 2015. Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina are also receiving federal grants to update their ports.
In 2012, Building America’s Future Educational Fund released “Falling Apart and Falling Behind,” which found that our nation’s ports, bridges, roads, rail and aviation systems are outdated and ill-equipped to compete in the demanding global economy. U.S. port infrastructure is currently ranked 19th in the world, according to the World Economic Forum, and container port volumes are projected to at least double by 2020, which means our nation needs to prioritize these critical investments in order to meet demands and compete in the global marketplace. The Senate approved its $12 billion Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill in May which included some important reforms to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) making available $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2014 and increasing annually until Fiscal Year 2020 when all the money directed toward the fund would need to be available for dredging and other port activities. We hope that the House WRDA bill to be considered later this year will also include HMTF reforms and funding for port activities. For the full report and more information, please visit www.BAFuture.org/Report.