The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has awarded The Port of Harlingen Authority a $5.2 million Rider 38 Grant for transportation improvement and service expansion.
“The grant money from TxDoT is going to make a huge impact in our business but also in moving toward fulfilling our master plan,” said Alan Johnson, Port of Harlingen Commissioner Chair. “I give a lot of credit to our board and especially our Port Director for the positive direction the Port is going that has allowed us to take advantage of grant funding like Rider 38.”
Rider 38, the most recent round of funding provided by the Texas Legislature, was approved by the TxDOT Commission May 28th totaling $40 million for select port projects statewide. The last three sessions have included budget riders in the General Appropriations Act that authorizes the use of $100 million for projects to improve access to maritime ports. These funds come from the Texas Mobility Fund, or other eligible sources. All projects that receive funding are selected by the Port Authority Advisory Committee (PAAC) and approved by the Texas Transportation Commission.
The Port will utilize funding from the Rider 38 Grant toward projects outlined in the Ports Master Plan. Grant money, along with $1.75 million in matching funds, will extend Port and Robles Road to adapt for the increase in tenant use and growth; and build a truck queuing area to improve and supplement current traffic issues and accessibility, which will also serve as a laydown yard for bulkbreak cargo allowing the Port to offer transportation services for commodities it currently cannot accommodate. The Port of Harlingen has seen an increase in traffic from a 43% increase in commodity tonnage from 2017.
“As business at the Port expands, so does the needs to accommodate it. The growing pains we have been through the last few years have helped us to see where upgrades and new infrastructure are needed,” Port Director Walker Smith said. “The improvements from the Rider Grants serve two-fold. Road upgrades and expansions address the current needs for Port tenants to better operate day-to-day, and bring needed space and multi-functional areas for inevitable and possible expansion.”
This is the second Rider Grant The Port of Harlingen has received. In 2017, the Port was awarded $7.8 million from Rider 45 to rebuild and resurface Port and Cemetery Roads and expand the intersection of Port Road and FM 106.