Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg To Dole out $450M in Taxpayer-Funded Grants to Clogged U.S. Ports

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks to the media after touring the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in Long Beach, California, on January 11, 2022.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced he will be awarding $450 million in taxpayer-funded grants in an effort to unclog U.S. ports as the supply chain crisis continues.

The transportation industry has remained unstable, and this has forced Americans to face increased prices and empty shelves at grocery stores and other retailers.

The money is part of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill Joe Biden signed into law last November.

Buttigieg has not kept a high public profile since taking weeks off from his job after he and the man he is married to adopted twins.

“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,” Buttigieg said.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that U.S. ports will have until May to apply for the grants, which won’t be delivered until the fall. It detailed a Transportation Department report:

The Transportation Department was releasing this week a one-year report that assesses the supply chain and how best to fix gaps. Administration officials said the report urges better government cooperation and data-sharing with the private sector and pledges up to billions of dollars more from federal grant programs later this year to promote smoother rail, water and truck transportation and build out warehouse capacity.

Last year, the department took interim steps to unclog the supply chain and limit inflation pressures, awarding $241 million in grants including $52.3 million to help boost rail capacity at the port in Long Beach, California. It has strived to move major ports to longer work days and improve recruitment and retention in the trucking industry.

Biden has acknowledged potential added pain to consumers if U.S. sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin over Ukraine end up limiting Russia’s exports of oil and natural gas and causing global energy prices to soar. Separately, Biden on Tuesday announced new U.S. investments to boost domestic production of minerals used for electronics including electric vehicles, smartphones and appliances, part of a bid to reduce U.S. reliance on China.

The Department of Transportation’s press release about the announcement said that it will provide “technical assistance” to entities seeking a grant through a series of webinars.

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