TRANSPORTATION/ECONOMY: Senator Murray Announces Major New Federal Investment in Port of Seattle, Regional Economy

Sep 09 2014

$20 million federal investment to come from TIGER program, which Murray created in 2009 to fund projects of regional significance and that help create and save jobs

Investment in Port of Seattle will go toward Terminal 46 modernization; project includes safety and congestion improvements and Terminal 117 public shoreline access development

Major investment will improve Port competitiveness, boost Washington state economy for decades to come

Washington, D.C.—Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that the Port of Seattle will receive $20 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. This investment will go toward modernizing the Port’s Terminal 46, a container terminal that serves as one of Washington state’s critical export hubs and economic engines.

“This is great news for the Port of Seattle and for workers and businesses across Washington state. This investment will provide a major boost to the Port’s efforts to lay down a strong foundation for long-term economic growth and job creation throughout the region, which is exactly what I created these TIGER grants to accomplish,” said Senator Patty Murray. “Modernizing Terminal 46 will protect and leverage the investments we’ve made at the Port of Seattle and will help Washington state maintain its cargo leadership for decades to come. I want to commend the Port of Seattle for its strong application and I appreciate Secretary Foxx’s support for this important regional investment.”

The TIGER Grant Program was created by Senator Murray in 2009 to provide competitively awarded grants through the U.S. Department of Transportation to transportation projects throughout the country that support economic growth and employ local workers.  The Murray-authored program had provided approximately $3.5 billion in job-creating transportation projects in every corner of the country before this latest round of investments, which includes $600 million more in critical projects.

Senator Murray talked to Secretary Foxx recently to express support for the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 46 modernization project, as well as other projects throughout Washington state.

Background from the Port of Seattle:

Components of the Terminal 46 (T46) project:

  • T46 Dock Rehabilitation: Repair container berth pile caps and deck panels that have deteriorated with the passage of time.

  • T46 Stormwater Quality Improvements: Treat runoff from the terminal to achieve the highest water quality standard in the nation.

  • T46 Paving: Repair terminal apron and container yard that is currently deteriorating and causing safety concerns.

  • T46 Crane Rail Extension: Extend dock crane rail to allow additional 100’ gauge crane to work full length of T46, enabling it to serve two super post-Panamax vessels at once.

  • Argo Safety and Congestion Improvement Road: Improve safety and reduce traffic congestion by providing a more direct link from seaport terminals to the Union Pacific Railroad’s Argo intermodal yard. The Project will grade-separate truck traffic from State Route 99, allowing trucks to avoid cutting across three lanes of traffic. Enhance connections to employment centers for thousands of commuters through congestion reduction.

  • Terminal 117 (T117) Public Shoreline Access Development: Convert T177 parcel into public shoreline access while restoring fish and wildlife habitat. Designed as a complementary offset to developments at T46, this element will create a multi-use community space adjacent to an underserved neighborhood.

The Port of Seattle’s Terminal 46 is a critical node in a trade corridor stretching from Asia to the United States. T46 was one of the first container terminals in the U.S., helping enable the massive growth of U.S.-Asia trade during the second half of the 20th Century. The facility is located in the state’s largest manufacturing and industrial center, and experienced a 126 percent growth in full exports from 2003-2013. Today, it remains one of our nation’s premier trade infrastructure assets, serving five international shipping lines, over 237,000 container moves and over 275,000 gate transactions annually. The 82-acre terminal has two 50+ feet deep berths, five container gantry cranes (three super post-Panamax and two post-Panamax), and 538 reefer plugs.

After several decades of service, investments must be made at T46 to address maintenance issues that threaten the reliability, cost-effectiveness and efficiency of the trade corridor and to compete with major upgrades at Canadian ports. Maintenance conducted during this Project will extend the service life of T46 by 25 to 30 years and make enhancements enabling the terminal to service two super post-Panamax vessels simultaneously. The Project will improve Port competitiveness and protect decades’ worth of investment, resulting in $10 billion in benefits compared to a no-build scenario. 

International trade at the Seattle seaport was valued at $29 billion in 2013, including $3.2 billion in agriculture exports. The Seattle seaport is also one of the region’s largest employers, supporting 56,256 direct, indirect and induced jobs and 135,100 related jobs in Washington. The Port’s container business alone supports 22,892 total jobs, including high-paying blue collar jobs.