News Releases

Port of Seattle and Port of Bellingham to each receive multi-million dollar awards for infrastructure modernization through Department of Transportation grant program 

Senator Murray: Even during on-going pandemic “we can’t ignore the priorities that we know are critical to keeping our vital ports updated and healthy, and our state economically-competitive” 

Upgrades to Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 will double capacity for agricultural exports, allow shipping costs to be reduced and shorten time to market for U.S. agricultural producers and manufacturers

Improvements to Port of Bellingham will renovate its shipping terminal and further expand the Port’s unloading and loading capacity, creating family-wage jobs and increasing trade

Senator Murray: “I’m not going to stop pushing for the federal investments in infrastructure—and more—I know will be vital to our state’s recovery in the weeks, months and years ahead”

Senator Murray, a senior member of the Senate’s transportation appropriations subcommittee, directly advocated for these projects to Transportation Secretary Chao

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate subcommittee overseeing transportation and infrastructure appropriations, today announced two major federal awards to help rehabilitate and modernize the Port of Seattle and the Port of Bellingham. The grants were awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s competitive Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP), with more than $10 million awarded to the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) for the Port of Seattle and nearly $7 million to the Port of Bellingham. The announcement follows Senator Murray’s conversations with Transportation Secretary Chao and advocacy to senior Department leaders about the importance of improving the Washington state ports, which are instrumental to the region’s agricultural and manufacturing sectors, global trading relations, and continued economic growth.

“We’re all doing the best we can to stay safe during this uncertain time, but we can’t ignore the priorities that we know are critical to keeping our vital ports updated and healthy, and our state economically-competitive,” Senator Murray said about the grants. “These awards are good news for future job-seekers, as well as growers and manufacturers from our state and across the nation who will benefit from upgraded port facilities and increased market access.”

“While I’m going to keep doing everything I can get families and communities in our state the support and relief they need to make it through this pandemic, I’m not going to stop pushing for the federal investments in infrastructure—and more—I know will be vital to our state’s recovery in the weeks, months and years ahead,” Senator Murray added.

The Port of Seattle will receive $10,687,333 to complete four major transportation infrastructure upgrades at the port’s Terminal 5, located at the southern end of the Seattle Harbor, as part of a larger modernization effort. Terminal 5, one of the largest marine terminals on the West Coast, has largely laid dormant since 2014, when larger ocean carriers that the terminal cannot currently accommodate became the global shipping industry standard. Once renovated, Terminal 5 will be capable of simultaneously serving two 18,000-TEU ships, some of the world’s largest container vessels. Additionally, the improvements will effectively double the terminal’s capacity for refrigerated agricultural exports to over 170,000 containers per year, most of which originate from rural America—allowing shipping costs to be reduced and shortening the time it takes for U.S. agricultural producers and manufacturers to get their goods to market. The renovated terminal will offer tremendous advantages to U.S. agricultural producers and manufacturers seeking access to global markets by making the movement of goods through the Pacific Northwest safer, more efficient, more reliable, more economically competitive, and more environmentally sustainable. In fact, the Puget Sound Gateway—facilitated by the Port of Seattle—handles exports from all 50 states, and 60% of its import cargo is distributed beyond the Pacific Northwest.

“The Northwest Seaport Alliance thanks Senator Murray for her work to secure funding for this project. This project will modernize Terminal 5 and ensure the NWSA the infrastructure we need to compete with ports in Canada,” said Port of Seattle Commission President and NWSA Co-Chair Peter Steinbrueck. “I am grateful to Senator Murray for her consistent focus on ensuring that the Northwest Seaport Alliance remains a premier gateway for Washington exports and international trade.” 

Added Port of Tacoma Commission President and NWSA Co-Chair John McCarthy: “Senator Murray’s support has been critical to the NWSA’s efforts to remain a top-tier trade gateway. We are grateful for her support for the Terminal 5 project and also for leading the charge in Congress to reform the Harbor Maintenance Tax. She is truly a champion of Washington state ports—critical infrastructure that will be necessary to lead economic recovery during the COVID health crisis.”

Additionally, another award of $6,854,770 will go to the Port of Bellingham to enhance the Port’s electrical and broadband infrastructure, as well as other repairs and upgrades that would allow the Port to accommodate larger ocean vessels with a wider variety of cargo and bolster its unloading capacity on dock. When completed, the upgrades to the Port’s shipping terminal are expected to help improve safety at the Port, create family-wage jobs and boost the regional economy through increased trade and commerce—directly benefitting local fabricating and logging facilities, and a number of other Port-dependent businesses. In addition to advocating for additional federal relief to support Washington state during on-going COVID-19 pandemic, including priorities critical to the state’s post-pandemic recovery, Senator Murray has long championed efforts to strengthen federal funding for vital transportation and infrastructure projects in Washington state—including most recently her successful efforts to push the Department of Transportation to award more than $17.5 billion in federal funding to construct a new cargo terminal at the Port of Everett.