US DOT announces $20 million Port of Alaska grant
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced a $20 million grant to the Port of Alaska Feb. 11, as part of its Port Infrastructure Development Program.
The grant comes on the heels of a $25 million grant to the port from the federal “Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development Transportation Discretionary Grants program,” to build the third and final phase of an upgrade to its petroleum products and cement handling facilities.
A spike in tariffs for petroleum and cement at the Port of Alaska began Jan. 1, as established by an Anchorage ordinance unanimously passed Dec. 17. The rates are designed to partially fund construction of the new $200 million petroleum and cement terminal. Terminal users have expressed concerns about the design and the process, as well as the significant tariff increases to users - which will impact customers of the affected products that land at the port.
While helpful to defray construction costs, which are yet to be fully determined, it is uncertain whether the $20 million will provide tariff relief.
“When they came up with the number for the tariff increase, that assumed that we would get some grants and some favorable loan packages that would reduce the amount of the total project cost,” Jim Jager, director of external affairs for the port told Petroleum News in November. “At some level, it was already cooked into the plan that the Port Commission has for how we’re going to pay for the new docks.”
The second phase of the terminal involving the trestle and deck, is to be built in 2020.
In 2021, the goal will be “to put in the mooring dolphins, and all of the fendering, and then all of the infrastructure on top of the deck that makes it useful - things like the pipes, the cement and fuel offloading systems, and equipment,” Jager said. “That work is what the tariff increase would pay for.”
- STEVE SUTHERLIN