According to the US Transportation Secretary, Elaine L. Chao, reported that this investment in the Program will help strengthen, modernize and enhance US's maritime systems and gateway ports.

In addition, the investments will be awarded on a competitive basis for projects located either within the boundary of a coastal seaport, or outside the boundary of a coastal seaport, and directly relate to port operations or to an intermodal connection to a port.

Additionally, the Department anticipates awarding funding to at least one project that advances each of the following project outcomes:

  1. Advance technology supported safety, design efficiency improvements
  2. Improve state of good repair and resiliency
  3. Promote efficient energy trade
  4. Promote manufacturing, agriculture, or other forms of exports
  5. For only the top 15 coastal ports, a project that supports the safe flow of agricultural and food products, free of pests and disease, domestically and internationally
  6. To provide technical assistance, DOT will host a series of webinars during the Port Infrastructure Development Program grant application process.

Moreover, based on the criteria above, the Department will evaluate projects, including leveraging federal funds, project costs and benefits, project outcomes, project readiness, and domestic preference. The Department also announced that it will consider geographic diversity when selecting grant recipients.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 made available $292.7 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program, including $92.7 million for the 15 coastal seaports that handled the greatest number of loaded foreign and domestic twenty-foot equivalent units of containerized cargo in 2016, as identified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The minimum award size is $10 million, with a federal cost share not to exceed 80%.

The deadline to submit an application for the Port Infrastructure Development Program is 8 p.m. EDT September 22, 2019.