Georgia Port of Brunswick issued $15M federal infrastructure grant for expansion

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One of Georgia’s busy seaports is being awarded a $15 million federal grant to help pay for new docks and other upgrades at one of its shipping terminals, the state’s U.S. senators announced Wednesday.

The Port of Brunswick, about 70 miles south of Savannah, will receive the funding through a U.S. Department of Transportation grant funded by the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law, Democratic Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock said.

Ossoff called the funding “a big win for coastal Georgia” and the state’s economy overall, noting Brunswick’s rapid growth as a U.S. hub for imports and exports of automobiles. He also told reporters the infrastructure law’s bipartisan backing shows that lawmakers from rival parties can still work together.

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“This is an investment in Georgia that is the fruit of cooperation between Democrats and Republicans,” Ossoff told an online news conference Tuesday.

In addition to automobiles and heavy machinery, Brunswick also handles bulk cargo such as agricultural goods, paper and rubber. The infrastructure grant will fund improvements to the port’s East River Terminal, where bulk goods get loaded and unloaded from ships.

The project includes building a new 540-foot (165-meter) dock after demolishing the old one, as well as replacing half of a second dock on the site. The federal money will also help pay to install new electrical and water systems at the terminal and to dredge one berth to add depth for docking ships.

In a statement, Warnock said the port project will “ease vessel traffic and the flow of commerce at a major economic hub for our state.”

The federal grant is expected to cover roughly half of the total cost of the terminal improvements, which the Georgia Ports Authority hopes to finish by 2027.

“This $15 million federal grant will enable Georgia grown forest products and other commodities to compete stronger in world markets through a competitive port,” Jamie McCurry, chief administrative officer for the Georgia Ports Authority, said in a statement.

The authority operates the state-owned seaports in Savannah and Brunswick. The grant award comes as the port authority is investing $262 million in upgrades and expansions for Brunswick to handle increased traffic. Meanwhile, the Army Corps of Engineers is working on a $17.5 million project to widen and deepen portions of Brunswick’s shipping channel.

A priority of President Joe Biden’s that passed Congress with support from both Democrats and Republicans, the infrastructure law is providing $1 trillion for roads, bridges, ports and rail transit as well as electrical grids and broadband internet.

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