Ports & Terminals

Port Houston INFRA Grant For Barbours Cut Totals Nearly $80 Million

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the Port of Houston Authority (Port Houston) an Infrastructure For Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant totaling more than $79.4 million. According to the port, the near $80 million grant represents the full amount requested—and 40 percent of the total cost—for its plan to restore and improve wharf and yard space at its Barbours Cut Container Terminal. Port Houston will supply the remaining 60 percent of the $198 million project.

“This funding support will help bring significant economic benefits to the region and nation while maintaining an efficient and safe movement of commerce to the U.S.,” said Roger Guenther, the port’s executive director.

Barbours Cut Terminal offers six berths spread across 6,000 linear feet of wharfage along the Houston Ship Channel near the mouth of Galveston Bay. The terminal covers about 390 acres and includes some 255,000 square feet of warehousing, a roll-on/roll-off platform and intermodal rail service nearby.

The improvement project will restore and bolster close to half of the terminal’s linear feet of wharf, strengthening existing support piles with fiber-reinforced polymer jackets, according to the grant announcement. Restoration of about 83.5 acres of the yard will also improve truck turn times, reducing emissions and congestion through the terminal. Overall, the improvements will allow the terminal to berth larger ships and will increase container storage capacity.

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The plan is part of a larger program at the terminal, which includes replacing Panamax cranes with larger Post Panamax ship-to-ship cranes. In total, the improvement program is expected to grow capacity at the Barbours Cut Terminal from 1.2 million to 2 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units).

The $80 million grant for the Port of Houston was part of $906 million in infrastructure grants that U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced in June. In all, 20 projects in 20 states garnered INFRA grants this year.

“This administration is focused on infrastructure improvements and this $906 million in federal funding will improve major highways, bridges, ports and railroads across the country to better connect our communities, enhance safety and support economic growth,” Chao said.

The Port Houston grant was one of two awarded to seaports. The other was a $19.8 million grant to increase capacity at Port Tampa Bay’s Hooker’s Point container facility.

According to the Department of Transportation, the agency evaluated 173 eligible projects from 47 states, in addition to those from U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, amounting to about $7.4 billion in grant requests. Of the grants awarded, 53 percent are designated rural projects and six are located in opportunity zones.

The INFRA grant program is part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which was passed in 2015. According to the FAST Act, Congress has 60 days to review the proposed grant recipients, after which the department can begin obligating funding.