Birmingham’s inland port gets state grant for capital improvements — ‘Sleeping giant’
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) has announced that the Birmingham-Jefferson County Port Authority will receive $840,000 for inland port capital improvement initiatives.
The grant is being awarded through the Alabama Inland Port Infrastructure Program, which focuses on capital improvement initiatives such as activities to facilitate and coordinate inland port development, improvement, maintenance, onsite storage, moorings and construction. You can view the grant application, entitled “Project Locus,” here.
The entire Jefferson County state legislative delegation applauded the news of the grant in statements on Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) said, “This is welcome news for all of Jefferson County. Because the port has access to the Port of Mobile and the Gulf of Mexico, if the Birmingham port is thriving that means that all of Alabama is thriving.”
“These improvements will ensure that the port is viable and helpful to commerce in Alabama for decades to come,” he added.
Senator Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham) thanked ADECA for the funding through the Alabama Inland Port Infrastructure Program.
“We are excited to open up economic trade in Central Alabama and West Jefferson County with the port in Birmingham. This waterway leads to the Gulf and gives access to all major interstates and railroads. It will be an economic boost like U.S. Steel was in Central Alabama,” Coleman-Madison remarked.
Senator Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia) expressed excitement about the new opportunities that this project will foster.
“I think the upgrading of the Birmingham Port will bring new life to Birmingham. It has been a sleeping giant for too long. The Port of Birmingham gives water access to the Port of Mobile, which will open up numerous opportunities,” Waggoner advised.
Senator Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham) outlined how the improvements would help the Birmingham area.
“I think this is wonderful for the Birmingham-Jefferson County Port Authority, because it gets us started with our efforts to improve the infrastructure,” he explained. “It will mean more commerce, more jobs for our district, and an increase in our tax base for the county.”
Senator Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville) highlighted his enthusiasm about the growth that ADECA’s funding will bring to Birmingham.
“This funding will bring about a new era to revitalize and grow the city of Birmingham. It will lead to new opportunities that will boost Birmingham forward by expanding its capacity for exports to Mobile and beyond,” Shelnutt stated.
Senator Dan Roberts (R-Mountain Brook) was also very appreciative of all the cooperation throughout city, county and state governments that made the grant successful.
“This is something where the Jefferson County delegation, county commission, mayor and city council have spoken with one voice. If we can continue to work together, there is no limit on what we can accomplish. I sincerely hope this is the first of many accomplishments that working together will achieve,” Roberts concluded.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn