To get agricultural and manufacturing products to world markets, producers need to transport them in shipping containers that are standardized for trucks, trains, and ships. Unfortunately, businesses in Montana can't ship or receive containerized international cargo effectively because the state lacks an inland port capable of accepting and delivering intermodal unit trains.
That's where DOT's TIGER program comes in. This competitive grant program was designed to support transportation solutions that also generate economic growth. And today the program continued its track record of doing exactly that with a grant of $10 million for the Port of Northern Montana Multimodal Hub Center to expand the capacity of Montana's producers.
"The Multimodal Hub Center will provide Montana with an inland port that will help increase trade and create economic opportunities for its residents and businesses," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
Once complete, the Multimodal Hub Center will be a fully functional inland port capable of accepting and delivering unit trains, containerized cargo, and large industrial equipment and materials. The facility will include rail spurs, access roads, street upgrades, utilities, wastewater and stormwater facilities, and a bulk material facility.
Without the project, farmers and other businesses would continue to rely on roadway transportation and existing mainline rail operations, resulting in high freight costs as well as continued delays to Amtrak's Empire Builder long-distance passenger rail service.
The grant to the Northern Express Transportation Authority further demonstrates DOT's commitment to more efficient freight movement throughout the nation. This follows on the first meeting of our National Freight Advisory Committee, the groundbreaking of the Devore Interchange in California, a recent visit by Acting Maritime Administrator Chip Jaenichen to the Port of Providence, and more.
As Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo noted, "Projects like this are an important step toward keeping America moving now and in the future."
We also know that investments in freight movement pay big dividends in economic activity. In fact, the TIGER grant builds on $254 million in private investments already pledged for related construction projects to be built in the Shelby area.
As Secretary Foxx said, "These federal dollars will translate into new businesses and jobs, and will strengthen long-term growth and support the President's goal of doubling exports."