California Secretary of Transportation leads delegation for meetings in Washington, D.C. with USDOT leadership advocating for federal funding to California ports.
[Port Hueneme, CA] —
On the heels of the historic state funding for the Port of Hueneme earlier this month, Port of Hueneme CEO Kristin Decas alongside California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin and CA Port leaders were in Washington, D.C. last week to meet with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to discuss leveraging California state funding with federal infrastructure investment grants. California ports play a vital role in the United States economy and supply chain with eleven trade ports providing critical pathways for goods. An increase in federal funding will significantly impact the future success of U.S. trade.
The request to leverage funds was based on the $80 million grant to the Port in July from Governor Newson’s 2023/24 fiscal budget. At the meetings on Capitol Hill, Decas highlighted how the funding is crucial in the Port’s success as a hub for fresh produce and cars. The requested federal support will help fund projects to create new green jobs while uplifting the Ventura County community with workforce development opportunities, equity and environmental sustainability projects.
Decas also met with the White House Senior Advisor for Infrastructure Mitch Landrieu, U.S. Maritime Administrator Rear Admiral Ann C. Phillips, USN, Ret., and U.S. Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy Carlos Monje to highlight the importance of the Port of Hueneme to the U.S. economy. California’s eleven major commercial ports handle 38% of all containerized imports and 28% of all exports in the U.S.
“I appreciate California’s Secretary of Transportation Toks Omishakin leading the delegation of California Port Directors to the USDOT offices where we had a chance to showcase the importance of California Ports, why investments in our CA Ports are investments in the strength of the nation’s job market, and in the resiliency and future of the national supply chain.”
Should federal funds be allocated, they will help leverage the earlier funding for the Port’s Strategic Port Action, Climate, and Environment Development project (PACED) and will benefit the Port, surrounding communities, and the entire region. Projects would provide new employment opportunities and improve air and water quality, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and promote transportation equity and environmental progress. These improvements make the Port of Hueneme better positioned to make a vital and sustained contribution to economic and environmental sustainability.
The PACED project specifically removes dilapidated buildings, installs zero-emission plug-in units for containers and builds fuel cell technology infrastructure. The project brings efficiency and safety improvements with the deepening of berths that will allow for the renourishment of local beaches with clean, dredged sediment.
Of utmost importance, the funding supports shoreside power and emission control systems that make vessels zero emission while in port and provides for port-wide crane electrification and the procurement of zero-emission cargo handling equipment.
The delegation included California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA) Executive Directors Kirk DeJesus (Port of Stockton), Mario Cordero (Port of Long Beach), Gene Seroka (Port of Los Angeles), and Danny Wan (Port of Oakland).
The Port of Hueneme is one of the most productive and efficient commercial trade gateways for niche cargo on the West Coast. Five locally elected Port Commissioners govern the Port. The Port consistently ranks among the top ten U.S. ports for automobiles and fresh produce. Port operations support the community by bringing $2.2 billion in economic activity and creating 20,032 trade-related jobs. Trade through the Port of Hueneme generates more than $173.2 million in direct and related state and local taxes, which fund vital community services. In 2017, the Port of Hueneme became the first port in California to become Green Marine certified and was voted the Greenest Port in the U.S. at the Green Shipping Summit. www.portofh.org.
# # #