Port Infrastructure Project to Improve Freight Access and Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), and Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) today announced the award of a $15.76 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to improve highway access to the Port of Gulfport for military, commercial, and freight tenants.

The award will support road and safety infrastructure improvements to 1.2 miles of 30th Avenue, including a grade-separated bridge over U.S. Highway 90. 

“The Port of Gulfport is critically important to the Mississippi Gulf Coast economy, as well as the economy of the Southeastern United States,” Wicker said.  “This grant will improve access to the port, making it a more attractive option for commerce and trade and improving safety for employees and visitors to the Coast.”

“The State of Mississippi has invested so much in rebuilding the Port of Gulfport into a port of the future.  This infusion of federal funding will help ensure port access to serve not only commerce, but the public,” Hyde-Smith said.  “I appreciate Secretary Chao’s attention to the ongoing infrastructure needs on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”

 “The Port of Gulfport plays a vital role in south Mississippi’s economy, and I know this grant will foster in a full-scale modernization effort to improve daily operations and increase commercial growth through necessary infrastructure improvements.  I am proud to support the work taking place at the Port of Gulfport, and I appreciate the President’s support for south Mississippi’s economic prosperity,” Palazzo said.

The DOT grant is being awarded to the Mississippi State Port Authority as part of the Port Infrastructure Development Program.  Wicker, Hyde-Smith, and Palazzo wrote letters of support for the project to the agency.

“Our ports are an integral component of our Nation’s economic success,” said Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.  “As the Administration continues to invest in America’s infrastructure, this program will further modernize and improve the efficiency of our waterways.”

The total project cost is expected to be $19.7 million, with a local match of $3.94 million provided by the Mississippi State Port Authority. 

The Port of Gulfport is a top 25 U.S. container port and the second-largest importer of green fruit in the nation.  U.S. Department of Defense designated the port as one of 17 Strategic Seaports given its significance to military operations.  It recently completed a $570 million restoration and expansion project that has attracted a variety of new tenants and resulted in renewed long-term lease agreements.