Columbia, La., Port Commission Receives $10.5 Million In Federal RAISE Grants
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LaDOTD) announced recently that the Columbia Port Commission has been selected to receive $10.5 million in federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
This funding will be allocated to the Grant Ouachita River & La. Highway 165 Multimodal Connectivity and Safety Project in Caldwell Parish. This project will include the acquisition of land and the construction of a state-of-the-art truck parking facility at the Port of Columbia, Ouachita River and La. 165, to include surface parking for approximately 50 commercial trucks, 100 cars and 12 electric vehicle charging stations.
The Port of Columbia is a shallow-draft port located on the Ouachita River. The facility consists of about 200 acres, including a barge loading/unloading area, an aggregate yard, a cottonseed warehouse and a grain elevator. The Port of Columbia has a navigable waterway, a major four-lane highway and Union Pacific’s main north/south railroad. Terral River Service has been an anchor tenant for the Port of Columbia for more than 20 years, operating an aggregate yard.
The RAISE grant is only one of several recent grants the port has obtained, all part of a long-term vision. In its RAISE application narrative, the port said it has begun work on a $20 million infrastructure investment to transform it into a 400-acre multimodal industrial complex with improvements to the connectivity between the Ouachita River, Union Pacific Railroad and La. Highway 165.
Most of the funds for this investment have been secured from LaDOTD Port Priority Program ($15 million), La. Capital Outlay ($2 million), Delta Regional Authority ($500,000), USDA Rural Development ($184,000) and Department of Homeland Security ($1 million). These grants were awarded during FY2022 to assist with securing Louisiana Green Fuels’ $2 billion facility at the port. The port completed construction of a $3 million dollar access road to connect the Port to La Hwy. 165, in April 2023.
The Louisiana Green Fuel’s Biofuels Facility is a ‘first of its kind’ project, utilizing forestry waste in a gasification process to create a net carbon negative biofuel product while applying carbon capture and sequestration (CSS) technology to capture carbon dioxide and permanently store it deep underground in what will be the first permitted EPA Class VI well in Louisiana.
The biofuel facility will represent a $2 billion investment at the Port of Columbia, creating 1,200 construction jobs during the 30-month construction schedule, which is expected to begin in 2023, with 150 direct jobs and more than 400 indirect jobs.
“Our ports are a critical part of our economic system in the state and also provide support for some of the most critical freight movements in the country,” said Renee Lapeyrolerie, LaDOTD commissioner of multimodal commerce. “Approximately 33 percent of freight that comes through Louisiana travels by water, and this grant will enhance our port program.”
Construction of the RAISE project is anticipated to begin in late 2023 and will be completed in early 2027, weather permitting.