By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
U.S. Representative Jo Bonner (R) from Mobile announced today that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the Alabama State Port Authority (ASPA) a $12 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. The money will be used to develop the Garrows Bend Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) better integrating shipping containers with the railroad.
Congressman Bonner said, “The award of this significant federal transportation grant to the Alabama State Port Authority will ensure the Port remains positioned for continued growth and expansion, with the improvements in rail connectivity expected to add more than 680 jobs over the next decade.”
The Alabama State Port Authority will provide matching funds. The upgrade to the port’s facilities will allow the port to move both imports and exports faster.
Rep. Bonner said, “I was pleased to support this grant request to bolster the capability and prominence of the Port of Mobile as a vital link in international trade and a catalyst for economic development in our region.”
TIGER grants allows the U.S. Department of Transportation to “invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives.” TIGER grants are awarded on a competitive bid basis. TIGER grants generally go to projects that would be difficult to fund under existing programs. In the FY 2011 round of TIGER Grants, 46 capital projects were awarded grants in 33 states and Puerto Rico.
Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “These are innovative, 21st century projects that will change the U.S. transportation landscape by strengthening the economy and creating jobs, reducing gridlock and providing safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable transportation choices. Many of these projects could not have been funded without this program.”
In 2011 the 4,000 acre Alabama State Port Authority had a $7.92 billion total economic impact, is responsible for 66,617 direct and indirect jobs, and handled 25.1 million tons of freight. The Port handled 169,282 shipping containers and 125,504 rail cars.
The City of Birmingham also received a $10 million TIGER grant award. The Birmingham News reported that Mayor William Bell said that the money will be used for transportation improvements in the Civil Rights District.
Congressman Bonner represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. Representative Bonner Defeated three opponents in the Republican Primary without a runoff and faces no Alabama Democratic Party opponent in the November 6th General Election.