Local ports have the good idea to seek infrastructure funds

The ports of Port Arthur and Sabine Pass are doing something almost every tax entity in Southeast Texas should be doing – thinking of ways they might qualify for some of the infrastructure bill money. $ 1 trillion that President Biden recently enacted.

This is the biggest boost to federal funding for ports, airports, highways, bridges, etc. for years, and some of those needs have undoubtedly existed right here in our region. But cities, counties and ports won’t get any of this funding unless they apply, so they must act now if they think they qualify.

The ports of Port Arthur and Sabine Pass are already starting up. The projects identified so far include the repair of the highways and railways that serve the ports, as well as the improvement of drainage and the development of infrastructure for better movement of goods. Port Arthur Mayor Thurman “Bill” Bartie has said that over the next 90 days, the US Department of Transportation will announce more than $ 475 million in funding for port and marine road infrastructure, and he hopes that his city gets part of it.

Port Arthur Harbor Manager Larry Kelley also highlighted the many benefits his facility could benefit from, noting, “We export ultra-charged sulphide diesel, renewable energy wood pellets and kraft liner. We import and export military goods and we import forest products like eucalyptus pulp. This is used to make paper napkins, fabric products, etc. We also import large volumes of dimensional lumber, things you can find at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Better infrastructure funding could clearly help the port do its job better, and it’s not the only potential project in Southeast Texas. Local tax entities are used to requesting state or federal aid, but this is a special opportunity that should not be overlooked.

Most Texas Republicans in Congress opposed the bill, although some GOP members in the House and Senate voted in favor. Politically, that won’t help the Southeast Texas proposals. But we hope the Biden administration moves beyond these partisan issues and approves the projects that make the most sense for the national economy.

For every tax entity, it will take time and money for this type of grant application, and it is not a process that should be undertaken lightly. But most public managers have some idea of ​​the types of projects that might be eligible, and they should continue this cycle of infrastructure funding if they think they have a chance.

A trillion dollars is a lot of money, but it’s a huge country with thousands of tax entities. Many of them will be looking for these funds, and the competition for the money is going to be fierce. Not all requests will be approved, probably the majority of them. But there is only one way to hear good news, and it starts with a detailed request along with the reasons why it would be appropriate. We urge all public councils in Southeast Texas to carefully consider this opportunity.

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