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Frequently Asked Questions - Port Infrastructure Development Grants

Q-What is the basis of the Port Infrastructure Development Grant Program?

A-On February 15, 2019, the President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, which appropriated $292,730,000 to be awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (“Department”) for the Port Infrastructure Development Program (“Program”). This Appropriations Act allows the Department to make discretionary grants to improve port facilities at or near coastal seaports. This is a one-time appropriation for Fiscal Year 2019 and future funding is not guaranteed.

Q-What is the definition of “coastal seaport?”

A-For the purposes of these grants, a “coastal seaport” is a seaport capable of receiving deep-draft vessels (drafting greater or equal to 20 feet) from a foreign or domestic port.

Q-How much money is available under the Port Infrastructure Development Program for the top 15 coastal seaports?

A-The Act directed that, of the total amount appropriated for the program, $92,730,000 be reserved for grants to the 15 coastal seaports that handled the greatest number of loaded foreign and domestic twenty-foot equivalent units of containerized cargo in 2016, as identified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Those 15 coastal seaports are also eligible to receive grants from the unreserved $200,000,000.

Q-Which ports are included in the 15 coastal seaports referenced above?

A-The 15 ports are: Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York (NY&NJ), Savannah, Port of Virginia, Houston, Oakland, Tacoma, Charleston, Seattle, Jacksonville, Miami, Port Everglades, San Juan (PR), and Honolulu.

Q-Who is eligible to apply under the Port Infrastructure Development Program?

A-Eligible applicants for Program discretionary grants are port authorities or commissions or their subdivisions and agents under existing authority, as well as a State or political subdivision of a State or local government, a tribal government, a public agency or publicly chartered authority established by one or more States, a special purpose district with a transportation function, a multistate or multijurisdictional group of entities, or a lead entity described above jointly with a private entity or group of private entities.

Q-What is the minimum grant award amount?

A-The minimum grant award is $10 million. There is no maximum award.

Q-What project outcomes will the Department prioritize?

A-The Department expects to award at least one project that advances each of the following project outcomes:

  • technology-supported safety and design efficiency improvements,
  • state of good repair and resiliency,
  • efficient trade in energy resources,
  • manufacturing, agriculture, or other forms of exports, and
  • for only the top 15 coastal ports, the safe flow of agricultural and food products, free of pests and disease, domestically and internationally.

However, a project does not need to address one or more of these outcomes to be awarded.

Q-Will previously incurred costs or previously expended or encumbered funds count towards matching amounts for this program?

A-No, the Department will not consider previously incurred costs or previously expended or encumbered funds towards the matching requirement for any project.

Q-What are some examples of eligible projects?

A-Eligible projects for Port Infrastructure Development Program grants shall be located either within the boundary of a coastal seaport, or outside the boundary of a coastal seaport and directly related to port operations or to an intermodal connection to a port. Eligible projects should improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods into, out of, around, or within a port, as well as the unloading and loading of cargo at a coastal seaport including phytosanitary facilities. Examples of potential projects include, but are not limited to: highway or rail infrastructure that develops or extends intermodal connectivity, intermodal facilities, marine terminal equipment, wharf construction or redevelopment, vessel alternative fueling access and distribution, fuel efficient cargo handling equipment, freight intelligent transportation systems, digital infrastructure systems, and berth dredging incidental to construction.

Q-Is vessel construction an eligible project under this program?

A-No, this program will not fund vessel construction.

Q-How many applications can a lead applicant submit under this program?

A-Each lead applicant may submit no more than one application.

Q-Will Buy American Act compliance be a consideration for this program?

A-The Department will consider whether an exception/waiver of the Buy American provisions will be necessary to complete the project. Among otherwise comparable applications, projects that depend on materials or manufactured products that do not comply with domestic preference requirements will be less competitive than projects that comply with those requirements. Among otherwise comparable applications that require exceptions or waivers, an application that presents an effective plan to maximize domestic content will be more competitive than one that does not.  The Department will not award projects that likely need a waiver but present no plan to maximize domestic content.

Q-Will the Department of Transportation consider geographic diversity as part of this program?

A-The Department will consider the geographic diversity among applicants when selecting Port Infrastructure Development Program Grant awards.

Additional Port Infrastructure Development Program Frequently Asked Questions - as of July 15, 2019

Q-Can the grantee's cost-share requirement be satisfied by in-kind contributions?

A-Yes, in-kind contributions may be used to satisfy the cost-share requirements. They should be outlined in the grant application, must be approved by MARAD prior to grant execution, and must adhere to the criteria outlined in 2 CFR Part 200, including Section 200.306, to be eligible.

Q-Can the grantee's cost-share requirement be satisfied by contributions from a third party who is involved in the project?

A-Yes.  As long as the contributions meet the requirements in Section C.2. (Eligibility Information: Cost Sharing or Matching) and F.2. (Administrative and National Policy Requirements) of the Notice of Funding Opportunity.

Q-Are private marine terminals and/or ports eligible to apply for funds?

A-Eligible applicants are a port authority, a commission or its subdivision or agent, a State or political subdivision of a State or local government, a Tribal government, a public agency or publicly chartered authority established by one or more States, a special purpose district with a transportation function, a multistate or multijurisdictional group of entities, or a lead entity described above jointly with a private entity. (See Section C.1 of Notice of Funding Opportunity.) A private marine terminal or port is not eligible to apply for a grant under the Port Infrastructure Development Program.

However, if an eligible applicant applied as a lead applicant jointly with a private marine terminal or port, the private marine terminal or port would be eligible for consideration. Thus, a private marine terminal or port could partner with its local city, county, MPO, state DOT or other eligible applicant to submit a grant application for this program.

Q-Does a project have to meet more than one outcome to be eligible for consideration?

A-The Department expects to award at least one project that advances the outcomes described in Section E of the NOFO, but a project does not need to address one or more outcomes to be awarded. A project does not need to meet address one or more outcomes to be eligible for consideration

Q-Will MARAD be using the USDOT BCA guidance for Discretionary Grants Program guide from 2018?

A-Yes. Entities interested in applying for grants thru the Port Infrastructure Development Program should refer to the USDOT Benefit Cost Analysis Guidance for Discretionary Grants Program document that was published in December 2018. A copy of the guide can be found at: http://www.transportation.gov/office-policy/transportation-policy/benefit-cost-analysis-guidance-2017.

Q-Are US Territory Government's eligible to receive grants in the Port Infrastructure Development Program?

A-U.S. Territory governments are eligible to apply for (and receive) Port Infrastructure Development Program grants. Eligible US Territory governments include Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Q-How can I find the Port Infrastructure Development Grant funding opportunity on Grants.gov?

A-You can use any of the following parameters to locate the funding opportunity on Grants.gov:

  • Funding Opportunity Number: 693JF7-19-BAA-0002;
  • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 20.823 - Port Infrastructure Development Program; and
  • Keyword Search: Enter "coastal seaport" in the Keyword portion of the Basic Search Criteria Section.

Additional Port Infrastructure Development Program Frequently Asked Questions - as of August 19, 2019

Q-Where can I find the “2019 Project Information” form mentioned in the Notice of Funding Opportunity?

A-The 2019 Project Information Form is available on both this website and the www.grants.gov website.   

1. How to find the 2019 Project Information Form on this website. 

Go to the “How to Apply” page of the website.  The page is available by clicking on the following link . . .

https://www.maritime.dot.gov/office-port-infrastructure-development/port-and-terminal-infrastructure-development/how-apply-port

On the right-hand side of the page – above the “Contact Us” banner – there is a link (labelled “PIDP 2019 Project Information Form”) that you can select to download the form.

2. How to find the 2019 Project Information Form on the grants.gov website.

Go to “Search” page of the www.grants.gov website.  The page is available by clicking on the following link . . .

https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html

Search for the grant opportunity (use “coastal seaport” as the keyword or “693JF7-19-BAA-0002” as the Opportunity Number when searching). 

Select the “Package” tab from the ribbon bar just below the “View Grant Opportunity” banner. 

Select “Preview” under “Actions” and then click on “Download Instructions.”  The form will be available to either open or save.

Updated: Monday, August 19, 2019