Department of Transportation Announces Over $653 Million for Port Projects, Including Electrification


Larisa Manescu,

WASHINGTON, DC -  On Friday, the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration announced millions to fund 41 port improvement projects in communities across the nation through the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP). The money comes from the Infrastructure and Investment Act, passed in November 2021.  

Pollution in our nation’s ports, from boats idling in the water and spewing toxic diesel exhaust to the diesel trucks that haul cargo away from the harbor, harms communities that live nearby. Ports are important hubs for the movement of goods, but communities living near them have been treated as sacrifice zones due to little regulation. Research has shown that diesel pollution contains more than 40 cancer-causing substances, including benzene and formaldehyde, linking it to asthma, heart disease, and premature death. Electrification of boats and port equipment can help improve this environmental injustice. 

Projects announced through the PIDP include but are not limited to: 

  • The North Harbor Transportation System in Long Beach, California and the National City Marine Terminal in San Diego, California 
  • The Edgemoor Container Terminal in Delaware 
  • The Ko’Kwel Wharf Improvements Project in North Bend, Oregon 
  • The Wind Port at Paulsboro in New Jersey
  • The Portland IMT Reefer Yard Modernization Project in Maine

“In California, residents near the port of Long Beach and San Diego can be relieved that port operations are embracing clean, zero-emission investments from the federal government,” said Sierra Club California Regional Manager Yassi Kavezade. “This means cleaner air, better public health, and climate justice. California still has some of the worst smog in the country, and programs like the Port Infrastructure Development Program will help to alleviate this chronic pollution while growing infrastructure and expanding new green jobs. 

“The $50 million for the Edgewood project will help to electrify cranes and vehicles at the port to clean up operations while supporting good union jobs,” said Sierra Club Delaware Chapter Director Dustyn Thompson. “That means cleaner air and cleaner water for some of Delaware’s most vulnerable populations. We're grateful for the leadership of Jeffrey Richardson, who leads the Delaware Community Benefits Agreement Coalition and works to ensure community participation on investments related to the Port of Wilmington.”

“Idling diesel engines are a major contributor to toxic pollution in Oregon,” said Sierra Club Oregon Chapter Director Damon Motz-Storey. “The over $7 million awarded to the Coquille Tribe towards electrifying the Ko’Kwel Wharf will bring cleaner air to communities surrounding the port.”

“We are very pleased to hear about the further investments in port infrastructure in New Jersey, especially as we face increased supply chain demands,” said New Jersey Chapter Director Anjuli Ramos-Busot. “As we have seen this past week with the cancellation of Ørsted’s Ocean Wind 1 and 2 projects, the transition to clean energy demands increased capacity to face the supply chain crisis, and investments like the one we have seen today are a huge boost in doing that. The New Jersey Chapter is also pleased to see resiliency measures incorporated to the Newark port investments, so that the impacts of climate change do not deter the construction of our clean energy future.”

“The cargo shipping at Portland International Marine Terminal serves as a regional logistics hub and is essential to Maine’s economy. We are pleased to see over $14 million go towards modernizing the yard used for refrigerated cargo, which will ensure that vessels with refrigerated units plug in rather than spew diesel emissions while idling at the port,” said Matt Cannon, State Conservation and Energy Director at Sierra Club Maine. “This is an important step as Maine invests in zero-emission transportation projects.”

“This month marks two years since Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, landmark bipartisan legislation that advances good jobs, public health, and clean transportation,” said Katherine García, director of Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign. “While we are pleased to see port infrastructure funding going towards clean energy projects, more funding to support port electrification is needed to slash toxic diesel pollution near ports. We are excited for the EPA’s Clean Ports Program with complementary funding to launch next year.” 

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit