The funding includes a barge fleeting area, new berths, a bulkhead and conveyors. The grant, awarded through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery discretionary grant program, will also go toward the dredging necessary for infrastructure improvements.
Construction on the terminal expansion is expected to begin in 2015. After the design package is formalized, the port will put out a request for proposals.
The BT-1 expansion is crucial to get Lake Charles Clean Energy up and running, said Bill Rase, port executive director.
The company, a subsidiary of Leucadia, plans to construct a $2.6 billion facility along the Calcasieu Ship Channel near Citgo. The work will reportedly create 1,500 construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs.
“Without the dock expansion there could be no (Lake Charles Clean Energy) project,” Rase said. “This is great news for the port and Southwest Louisiana. We’re quite satisfied that we were able to get this grant.”
TIGER grants are competitive and awarded through the Department of Transportation for infrastructure projects nationwide.
For fiscal year 2014, the program received about 800 requests worth more than $9.5 billion. Seventy-two applicants received nearly $585 million in TIGER grants.
Rase commended the Louisiana delegation and their staff for helping the port obtain the grant, along with the port’s director of engineering and maintenance, Donald Brinkman, who spent several days in Washington, D.C., presenting the port’s case.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said the port is “a hub for economic trade for Louisiana and our country,” and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said it’s important for ports to receive needed “attention and updates.”
U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, said Louisiana’s ports and harbors are the key to Louisiana’s continued success and that “this grant will be a great boost to Lake Charles as we continue preparing for the investment and opportunities coming to this area.”
By Lance Traweek, American Press