PALMETTO — SeaPort Manatee has received a nearly $12 million federal grant to advance the 16.56-acre expansion of container yard facilities on the thriving Gulf Coast trade gateway.
In a September 15 press release, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the federal government had awarded $15 million to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and $11.95 million to the county Port Authority. of Manatee under the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) competitive grant. program.
INFRA supports road, multimodal freight, and rail projects that will make the country’s transportation systems safer and more resilient, remove supply chain bottlenecks, and improve critical freight movements. The bipartisan Infrastructure Act also expanded INFRA eligibility to include wildlife crossing projects, marine highway corridor projects, and surface transportation projects located within or functionally connected to an international border crossing.
The critical expansion of the SeaPort Manatee container yard is one of 26 projects for which the $1.5 billion infrastructure investment from INFRA’s competitive funding was announced by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who called the grants “transformative investments.”
“Today, we are announcing transformative investments in our country’s roads, bridges, ports and railroads to improve the way Americans move and help reduce the costs of shipping goods,” said Buttigieg in a press release.
SeaPort Manatee announced that the federal investment will be used for the design and construction of 16.56 acres of additional cargo handling space and a new container yard access road, as well as the installation electrical systems for two new mobile harbor cranes that have arrived. in port in April.
The port’s latest project will expand 18 acres of adjacent container yard that SeaPort Manatee has already completed, and an additional 6.62 acres under construction slated for completion by mid-2023. The early phases of the port project have advanced with federal, state and local funding totaling more than $18 million.
In addition to INFRA grant funding, the port projects will also use state and local funds, including equal amounts of $2,147,650 each from a Florida Department of Transportation grant and SeaPort Manatee revenue.
SeaPort Manatee will begin soliciting bids for the expansion project, aiming to begin construction in 2023 and complete the project in 2025.
“SeaPort Manatee is extremely grateful to USDOT and FDOT for their support of this crucial project, which is expected to provide sufficient cargo handling capacity to accommodate the port’s thriving business through approximately 2041,” said Carlos Buqueras. , Executive Director of SeaPort Manatee.
Noting a steady increase in containerized cargo tonnage to the port, Buqueras added in the press release, “Cargo volumes are expected to continue to increase as SeaPort Manatee flourishes as a vital gateway to supply chain for the east coast of the United States.
Manatee County Commissioner and Manatee Port Authority Chairman Reggie Bellamy cited a benefit-cost ratio of more than 25-to-1 for the expansion project.
“We greatly appreciate this federal funding for the provision of modern infrastructure for the safe and efficient movement of increasing levels of freight while providing significant local, regional and national economic benefits,” Bellamy said in the press release.
SeaPort Manatee’s press release noted that the local port is located “where Tampa Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico” and is a thriving and vibrant global trade hub, serving as a gateway between ships and shelves for markets around the world. Southwest and Central Florida.
Located in Palmetto, Florida, the Port Authority is the closest U.S. deep-water port to the expanded Panama Canal. With its 10 deep draft berths, the port generates more than $5.1 billion in annual economic benefits while providing more than 37,000 direct and indirect jobs, all without the aid of the local property tax.