Because America’s marine transportation system plays such a vital role in keeping our economy moving forward, it's no surprise that President Obama mentioned ports specifically in his State of the Union address.
Our ports move valuable freight in and out efficiently and economically. That’s why the Obama Administration has made investing in ports a top priority—providing more than $349 million to ports nationwide since 2009.
And just as my blog post earlier today showed how DOT has been investing in roadways in North Texas, we have also been investing in the Lone Star State's ports. The Port of Brownsville, for example, is expanding its capacity by adding a 600-foot, heavy-load capacity cargo dock on the south side of the Brownsville ship channel, thanks in part to a planned $12 million TIGER grant from DOT.
Today Maritime Administrator David Matsuda toured the port, where the second dock and its new railroad sidings--when complete--will allow the port to increase its freight volume. This increase will help the facility remain competitive with domestic and foreign ports in the Gulf of Mexico region.
According to a recent report, the Port of Brownsville supports more than 11,000 jobs in the region and generates $2 billion annually for the Texas economy. Equipping it with a second dock will further increase the port’s already significant economic impact.
Across Texas, according to the same report, operations at public ports totaled $277.6 billion in 2011. The state's 16 public ports move 20 percent of all the goods that enter the United States.
The Obama Administration has set a goal to boost American exports, support American jobs, and attract more jobs to our shores. And the Port of Brownsville’s expansion--with the jobs it will bring and the revenue it will generate--is an excellent example of how investments in port infrastructure boost our economy.
With the 2012 TIGER grant to support planned growth at the Port of Brownsville, DOT once again demonstrated the Obama Administration's support for the maritime industry and its commitment to reigniting the U.S. economy.