By Arman Rahman
Millions of federal dollars are now going toward shoring up and improving the infrastructure of the Port of Duluth-Superior.
It’s one of the first grants to go out for ports as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs act enacted in November.
The act awards $19 million the Senator says to ensure the biggest port on all of the Great Lakes can survive and thrive continuing to generate more than $500 million in revenue each year.
First, $13 million goes to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers vessel yard on the Duluth Harbor basin-Superior bay side of Park Point.
The funding will finish dock wall reconstruction that began last year. Senator Klobuchar says making sure ports are up to date is important in the ever-evolving shipping industry.
“You’ve got now high-tech manufacturing out of Minnesota and Wisconsin and other areas of the country the entire Midwest using that port and you’ve got parts coming in from elsewhere,” the Senator said.
“And especially with some of these supply chain slowdowns that are gradually improving we need, and want to focus on making sure shipping works for American manufacturers, and to the most updated ports possible,” she said.
The rest of the $6 million goes to increasing capacity at the Erie Pier confined disposal facility to handle and transport dredging material.
According to a spokesperson with the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, there is limited space and capacity at the Pier.
So creating more capacity for future dredge material placement helps crews find where the material can best be used, such as for habitat restoration, mine-land reclamation, and other uses.
Senator Klobuchar says more money is in store for Northern Minnesota.
“Remember this was a bipartisan bill supported by the two Republican Senators from the state of North Dakota as well as our 2 Minnesota senators and there is a lot more funding in this bill for Minnesota, hundreds of millions of dollars,” Sen. Klobuchar said.
And while no one from the Duluth Seaway Port Authority could sit for an on-camera interview Tuesday, they did release a statement from executive director Deb DeLuca to FOX 21 which reads:
“The recently announced federal investments in critical infrastructure will support port operations for years to come. We are especially pleased to see more support for beneficial-use projects for dredged material. Demand continues to grow for dredged material use in habitat improvement, restoration and construction projects, making maintenance of navigation channels a sustainable practice.”
Klobuchar toured the Port back in April, to highlight the need for infrastructure improvement.
“Here we are, one of the first grants to go out for ports is to Duluth,” said Klobuchar Tuesday. “Why? Because it’s the biggest port on all of the Great Lakes generating 7,800 jobs in the area.”