A group of Pennsylvania Democratic lawmakers has helped secure a $13 million infrastructure grant to help upgrade the Port of Philadelphia, one of the country’s biggest ports, which handles $43 billion worth of freight each year.
Democratic Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman, along with Philadelphia-area Democratic Reps. Brendan Boyle and Mary Gay Scanlon, said the funding will go toward a new bridge connecting areas of the port in order to reduce traffic and help the environment by cutting back on idling time for trucks carrying freight.
“I fought for this funding because PhilaPort is a critical link in our region and our Nation’s supply chains. The commerce moving through this region’s waterways create and sustain good-paying union jobs and spur economic growth,” Casey said in a news release. “Thanks to the infrastructure law, PhilaPort continues to be one of the Nation’s premier maritime shipping hubs and helps transport more goods to families and businesses in Southeastern Pennsylvania and beyond.”
Casey advocated for the project in an August 2023 letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, writing that funding for the new bridge “would boost regional economic efficiency by allowing for more freight to flow more quickly through the port.”
As of 2008, the Port of Philadelphia was the 10th-busiest water port in the country for international trade based on value of shipments, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
While the port handles all kinds of imports and exports, it specifically handles a large portion of the country’s meat and fruit imports. Specifically, 41% of the United States’ meat imports and 21% of fruit imports came through the Port of Philadelphia in 2011, according to the Department of Agriculture.
According to Casey’s news release, the $13 million in funding for the new bridge comes from the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America Grant Program, which, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, “awards competitive grants for multimodal freight and highway projects of national or regional significance to improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of freight.” The INFRA program, established by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2015, received additional funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law President Joe Biden signed into law in 2021.
This is the latest of multiple grants the Port of Philadelphia has received in recent years.
In June 2021, the Department of Transportation awarded a $49 million INFRA grant to help create a new berth at the port.
“This $13 million for Philaport’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal (PAMT) Connector Bridge project will continue to expand the capacity of the port and strengthen economic development and job creation in the region,” Fetterman said in the news release issued by Casey’s office.