Almost $450 million in funding from the infrastructure bill will go toward unclogging ports, the Biden administration announced Wednesday. Ports can apply for the funding until mid-May, and the first grants should be disbursed in the fall.
“We’re proud to announce this funding to help ports improve their infrastructure — to get goods moving more efficiently and help keep costs under control for American families,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.
More than $240 million that went to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach last fall have helped speed the flow of goods through and out of the most-used ports in the U.S. to begin breaking up jams spurred by a surge in demand for imports from Asia as the economy climbed out of the pandemic-induced recession.
Ports around the country need upgrades to handle the huge ships and loads they must handle, and improvements to ground transportation linking with the ports to clear goods out and get them on their way to their destinations.
“President Biden is leading the largest ever federal investment in modernizing our country’s ports, which will improve our supply chains and the lives of Americans who depend on them,” Buttigieg said.
As the funds won’t go out for months, it might be 2023 before major improvements alleviate the logjams at ports, which have contributed to inflation and left consumers waiting months for furniture deliveries, among other delays.
While there might not be immediate results, the underfunding that led to the clogging issues has been a problem years in the making, and long-term improvements to ports are necessary to keep goods flowing smoothly in years to come.