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'It's all about jobs' : $13.6M grant expected to bring more jobs, major changes to the Port of Port Arthur

"It's all about jobs and economic development."

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — A multi-million-dollar grant could soon bring major changes and more jobs to the Port of Port Arthur.

After multiple applications, the Port of Port Arthur received a federal grant of $13.6 million. The money was awarded to the port through The Department of Transportation's "Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity Grant."

The funds are set to go toward a project that officials hope will improve port infrastructure, transportation, and efficiency. Officials believe now is the right time to do the work because recent storms have damaged the port's infrastructure.

Larry Kelley is the Port of Port Arthur director. He said the money will also go toward economic development not only at the port, but also in the City of Port Arthur.

“It's what we do," Kelley said. "It's all about jobs and economic development. It just happens to be very close to the water."

The project has three components. The first component involves a building next to the port.

"It involves taking down an old, dilapidated building,” Kelley said. “We're going to convert it into an area that we can shuttle cargo into and in and out of the port."

Another component involves converting about 25 acres of an abandoned railyard at the port into a multimodal area .The area will include site stabilization, lighting, fencing, fiber optic, storm water management, relocation of utilities underground, and reconditioning of a two-story structure to mitigate flood risks.

Kelley believes the multimodal facility will also help cut down on trucks having to wait to load cargo, thereby reducing harmful emissions.

"It does provide an ability for us to more efficiently handle the trucks and mitigate some congestion inside the port, which has been a challenge," Kelley said

Congressman Randy Weber played a key role in getting the grant for the Port of Port Arthur.

"We're glad we're going to take that spot with the money and convert that into a laydown yard," Weber said. "It means jobs. Like I said earlier, doing that, it means any work that they've got going on. it's going to supplement that. It's going to make it quicker. It's going to make us a lot more productive than otherwise we would've been."

Kelley said the port will present its match in funds before they can start going through designs. He is eager to get the project underway.

"We're preparing to start to do some early preliminary work to help facilitate moving this along, because we could use the benefits of this project tomorrow if we had it," Kelley said.

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