As Prepared: Port Houston Ribbon Cutting
REMARKS AS PREPARED BY
MARITIME ADMINISTRATOR REAR ADM. (RET) ANN PHILLIPS
AT Port Houston Ribbon Cutting
Thank you, Mr. Guenther (Roger),
Before I begin, I’d like to quickly recognize and give a special thanks to Roger not only for his leadership at Port Houston but for his service and commitment to the Maritime Administration’s - U.S. Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee – or MTSNAC.
Secretary Buttigieg, thank you to you and President Biden for your terrific leadership across our supply chains, particularly to help get through the pandemic-driven disruptions and make our supply chains more resilient.
Chairman Campo, and distinguished guests, I am honored to be here with all of you this morning as we mark this significant achievement for Port Houston, USDOT, and the Maritime Administration.
We relish the ability to provide funding to projects like the Wharf 6 Expansion at the Bayport Container Terminal – however – we are more enthusiastic to participate in this ribbon-cutting event and congratulate all those involved in making this project a reality.
The State of Texas has a long and rich history of supporting the Maritime Transportation System. Projects like this could only be completed with the support of the State of Texas, TxDOT, and local and regional elected officials and local authorities - your focus on port infrastructure and commitment to the Maritime Administration is vital to our national and economic security missions. It allows us to improve and modernize the Maritime Transportation System through projects like the Wharf 6 Expansion at the Bayport Container Terminal. I give a special thanks to Representative Shelia Jackson Lee and Representative Sylvia Garcia who are with us here today to celebrate. [placeholder for others]
Speaking of historic moments, today marks the 233rd Birthday of the US Coast Guard. I would like to say Happy Coast Guard Day to all who may be or have been affiliated with my Navy’s sister maritime service.
The Coast Guard is well known and respected throughout the country and the world for all that it does in defending our nation, protecting our shores, and saving mariners who are in distress, and I would ask that you join me in a round of applause. Sector Houston-Galveston is one of the most challenging Sector commands in the Coast Guard, congratulations CAPT Donohue on taking command in June, and CAPT Rodriguez on your recent assignment as Deputy Commander.
With this historical context in mind, it is my great pleasure to highlight the ways in which the Biden Administration, through the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, has committed to ensuring that the federal government does its part to facilitate port infrastructure development projects as one of the essential infrastructure goals of this administration.
Most people do not realize that approximately 70 percent of U.S. – international trade by weight, worth close to $2 trillion, moves by water annually. It is Ports around this country, ports just like this one, that are critical to maintaining the United States as a leader in the global economy.
So now let's talk a little more about the PORT INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM OR PIDP. PIDP provides funding to ports in both urban and rural areas for planning and capital projects with the goal of improving the movement of goods – and strengthening port and related freight infrastructure to meet the nation’s freight transportation needs NOW and ensure our port infrastructure can meet the needs of the FUTURE.
Houston Bayport in particular, became one of the first recipients of the PIDP grant program through your 2019 grant application, and it should be evident that the Port of Houston brought their “A-game” to the competition since we now stand before this fantastic new facility! You should all be incredibly proud of the work you have accomplished.
This project demonstrated strong support from local and state officials and local unions and business organizations because it supported the Port’s priorities to safely operate waterways, expand economic opportunities, and enhance the customer experience while reducing environmental impact.
For their efforts, Port Houston was awarded $ 21,840,00 for the Bayport Terminal Intermodal Expansion project.
The result is a facility that embodies the spirit of innovation, collaboration, and progress.
"The creation of PIDP in 2019 was critical - that's clear, as we stand here today. Yet the need and opportunity for port improvements, here and across the country, was still so much greater. Through President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are now in the process of awarding $2.25 billion in PIDP grants over a five year period - an x% increase over the previous annual levels. This historic funding is allowing us to meet this moment of truly generational change in our nation’s maritime history.
In closing, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Port Houston for their vision and dedication to making this project a reality! Thank you!