The Port of Long Beach was awarded a $52.3 million grant to help fund a rail facility that will help the port move cargo more efficiently and with less emissions, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Thursday.

The port’s project is one of 25 projects in 19 states being funded by more than $241 million through the Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program. One other California project, Oakland’s Powering the Future Project, was also selected.

The Port of Long Beach’s “Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility” is the centerpiece of the port’s approximately $1 billion rail capital improvement program. It will allow the port to directly transfer containers to and fro marine terminals by train, which will reduce truck traffic and make the process cleaner and more efficient. No cargo trucks will visit the facility, and instead, smaller segments will be brought to the facility and joined together into a full-sized train, port officials said.

“This is great news to hear at the end of what will be our busiest year ever,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We appreciate the U.S. Department of Transportation’s support for this important project. It will help to move cargo more efficiently through the Port, getting needed products and goods to homes and businesses across America faster.”

Port officials expect construction to begin in 2023, with the first arrival, departure and storage tracks completed in 2025. Additional tracks would come online 2030, followed by project completion in 2032.

“U.S. maritime ports play a critical role in our supply chains,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said in his announcement about the 25 funded projects. “These investments in our nation’s ports will help support American jobs, efficient and resilient operations and faster delivery of goods to the American people.”

The Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program is in its third year, and during its first two years awarded $492 million to 32 projects deemed economically significant for the region and nation. The grants aim to ensure the U.S.’ current and future freight transportation needs are met.

“These investments will support the shift to cleaner transportation, which will create more economic activity and good paying jobs,” said the Acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley. “The Port Infrastructure Development Program is an important part of building back better for our ports, our communities, our economy and our people.”

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