Marine Highway Projects Land TIGER Funds

Marine Highway Projects Land TIGER Funds

Even though it’s 75 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the Port of Stockton, Calif., boasts a healthy cargo mix, according to Mark Tollini, deputy port director.

“Everything but containers is probably the best way to describe it,” Tollini said. “Dry and liquid bulk, breakbulk and heavy-lift. We handle a lot of wind energy components and refinery equipment.”

The port’s container-handling capacity will be improved when Stockton receives its share of a $23 million grant the Department of Transportation awarded under the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program.

Stockton was one of a handful of ports to receive grants to launch marine highway services. Tollini said the port would purchase two cranes to handle containers for a service between Stockton and the Port of Oakland.
“Our focus was on building infrastructure to allow development of this type of service,” Tollini said. The grant money also will be used to develop 30 acres next to the piers.

On the opposite coast, the former Navy base at Quonset, R.I., also will receive $22.3 million to develop marine highway facilities, said Steven J. King, managing director of Quonset Development, which owns the 3,000-acre site.

King said the port would purchase a crane to handle containers delivered by barge from the Port of New York and New Jersey. “A lot of the traffic in Rhode Island that comes up from New York actually comes here to the business park. This will allow us to leverage our assets and have the stop here,” King said.

Congestion on the Interstate 95 corridor in New England has made the area a prime opportunity for potential marine highway operators.

All told, the DOT received more than 1,400 TIGER grant applications. Fifty-one projects received grants.

“Considering the number of applications, that’s a pretty small funnel to drop out of,” Tollini said. “We’re just ecstatic that we were able to make the grade.”

Contact R.G. Edmonson at bedmonson@joc.com