Transportation Investment Center helping Port Newark secure upgrade funds

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Despite U.S. transportation infrastructure's urgent repair and upgrade needs, and the nation's travel and freight-transportation abilities constrained, hope lies in Port Newark’s Build America Transportation Investment Center (BATIC), Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said recently.

Foxx touts BATIC as a potential, albeit partial, solution to transportation and freight-bottleneck issues, noting that the center is part of a promising model for addressing future challenges by helping the Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT) explore financing options and eligibility for its $230 million infrastructure-modernization project.

The PNCT in New Jersey currently handles over 20 percent of the entire Port Authority of New York's and New Jersey’s container volume, employing more than 1,200. Knowing that the future will require PNCT to handle more shipping containers and larger ships, port leaders envision a planned modernization to double the terminal’s lift capacity to 1.4 million containers, add Ultra Large Container Vessel and barge capabilities that the Port lacks, and increase the number of PNCT jobs.

Since opening last year, BATIC already has leveraged $18 billion in infrastructure investment across the country. Director Andrew Right -- who recently assumed the post, with a background in civil engineering and finance -- will help continue facilities planning, partnerships and other projects to enhance port operations, such as helping the port identify opportunities to secure federal funding. BATIC already has played a key role in helping the port understand eligibility criteria for a range of DOT programs.

“If you've never been involved in an infrastructure project, you might not believe how long it can take and how complicated it is to get a project built – often more than a decade,” Foxx said. “But BATIC will streamline things. It allows states, municipalities and project sponsors to come directly to us for help accessing federal financing options, private capital, and technical assistance on permitting and other issues.”

“At DOT, we're excited by the progress BATIC has helped make possible at the Port Newark Container Terminal,” Foxx said. “It's a game-changing model for how we advance the critical infrastructure projects America needs.”

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