PORT ANGELES — The Port of Port Angeles is seeking advice from Congressman Derek Kilmer on accessing infrastructure funding.
One of the demands made at a meeting on Tuesday was to push for a grant process for the port, funds that would benefit the development of the Marine Trade Center (MTC).
The port received an $8.6 million grant from the Economic Development Association to help develop MTC infrastructure, but it has not seen any disbursement of those funds.
“We have done what they asked us to do in terms of archaeological studies and additional engineering, but we still haven’t received any notification from them that they are moving forward,” he said. said Harbor Commissioner Colleen McAleer.
Chris Hartman, the port’s engineering manager, said he last heard the EDA was awaiting information from the National Fisheries Service regarding the port’s environmental assessment for the project.
Kilmer, a Gig Harbor Democrat who represents the state’s 6th congressional district, which includes the northern Olympic Peninsula, said he and his staff would help move the process along any way they can.
“The short answer is yes,” Kilmer told the three harbor commissioners on Tuesday. “We are happy to engage with the EDA or other agencies if they feel other agencies are involved.”
The MTC is a $7.5 million project that would be built on 18 acres of Marine Shore Drive in Port Angeles, with the first building expected to be 30,000 to 35,000 square feet, large enough to accommodate the repair of large vessels. The space would be unique to the peninsula as it would allow anyone to use the workspace, rather than being a private entity.
The commissioners also asked Kilmer for recommendations on the types of grants to apply for that would support the continued development of the MTC. Those funds could come from the recently passed $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill, of which the state will receive about $8.6 billion.
“One of the pieces of advice we got from the administration on a call with them a few weeks ago was, ‘Don’t be afraid to ask for more than one (grant),'” Kilmer said. , as the criteria are set for these different grant programs: if you think you have a potential investment that fits the bill for the priorities they set, they said there was no kind of restriction to apply for more than one.”
Kilmer also noted that there is also funding through the EDA through the American Rescue Plan Act that the port should consider, in addition to funding through the federal Department of Agriculture.
Kilmer spoke about several pots of funding in the infrastructure bill that could be helpful for ports on the Peninsula, but also answered questions specific to the Port of Port Angeles.
Commissioner Steven Burke asked if there is legislation that would require ships to use electricity supplied by the port when available to offset port electrification costs, as well as to address any environmental issues that may arise when a ship uses its own energy while anchored.
“We started the process several years ago to build the infrastructure for shore power, and there’s a climate connection that you’re certainly aware of – by plugging into shore power, you’re not doing not operate your generators. It seems that from a practical point of view, unless there is some type of legislation that requires them (vessels) to plug into shore power if it is available, they just don’t choose not to do it. I wonder if there is a movement, at the federal level, to require the use of shore power if it is available? Burke asked.
Kilmer said there was no current legislation that he was aware of, but could be incorporated into future legislative processes.
“To my knowledge, I don’t know of any legislation in this regard,” Kilmer said. “By including port electrification as one of the eligible uses in these grants, I think it is recognized that this must be part of our future going forward.
“I totally agree with you to reduce our carbon footprint and also consider this climate link,” Kilmer said.
Reporter Ken Park can be reached by email at [email protected]