The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration is announcing $7.1 for port improvements in Louisiana under a new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) program created to improve air quality for truck drivers, port workers and families that live in communities surrounding ports. The Port of New Orleans will use the funding towards the purchase of new all-electric heavy and light duty trucks to replace diesel vehicles currently in use, upgrade electrical infrastructure and evaluate new emissions-reducing equipment.

Overall, the new Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities program provides $148 million in grants to 16 projects in 11 states and Puerto Rico. The funding represents the first round of grants under the new $400 million Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Grant Program under BIL invests in port electrification and efficiency improvements. This program aims to reduce emissions from idling trucks at our nation’s ports while modernizing infrastructure and strengthening supply chains.

“When truckers spend hours idling at ports, it’s bad for drivers, bad for supply chains, and bad for nearby communities that feel the brunt of more polluted air,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The investments we are announcing today will save truck drivers time and money and help ports reduce congestion and emissions, while making the air more breathable for workers and communities.”

“The projects funded under this program will improve the quality of life for workers and families impacted by pollution from idling trucks while building a clean-energy economy that combats climate change and makes our communities more resilient,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “Port-related trade is good for the economy but unfortunately has been at a cost to nearby communities, which is why we are pleased to announce this investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will make a real difference for people who live and work near ports.”

Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt at podium

The project to reduce congestion and emissions around Louisiana is as follows:

• The Port of New Orleans and its partners will receive $7 million to buy 14 heavy-duty, all-electric terminal trucks, and five, light-duty, all-electric pick-up trucks to replace diesel vehicles currently in use. Funding also will be used to upgrade electrical infrastructure, track emissions and energy use, and evaluate new emissions-reducing equipment. Partners include BP Pulse, Entergy New Orleans, New Orleans Terminal, Ports America Louisiana, Urban League of Louisiana, and Nunez Community College.

“This funding for the Port of New Orleans is a significant investment that will drive substantial reductions in truck emissions, benefiting the environment and public health. It showcases a bold approach to modernizing port facilities, aligning with the goals of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to promote sustainability and innovation in transportation infrastructure. By upgrading electrical infrastructure and incorporating all-electric trucks, the Port of New Orleans sets an example for ports nationwide while also fostering workforce development through strategic partnerships with educational institutions,” said Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr. (LA-02).

“We would like to thank the Biden Administration, our federal delegation, and FHWA for helping the Port of New Orleans honor its commitment to sustainability, environmental justice, equity, and reducing our environmental footprint,” said Port NOLA President & CEO Brandy D. Christian. “We remain focused on prioritizing the utilization of green technologies and infrastructure, sustainable transportation, and helping underserved communities through workforce development initiatives. This funding helps us continue this transformative journey that is aligned with a broader global movement to slow climate change.”

In this first round of grant awards with combined funding from Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023, FHWA has funded projects that reduce truck emissions in communities adjacent to ports, which disproportionately bear the negative environmental impacts of idling trucks. Specific truck emissions reductions implemented include replacing diesel-powered trucks serving ports with zero or low emissions electric or alternative fuel-powered trucks, constructing electric vehicle charging infrastructure, employing port roadway access improvements, and studying technology enhancements to reduce truck emissions.

President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is growing the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.

The Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Grant Program is part of the Justice40 Initiative, which advances President Biden’s commitment to environmental justice by aiming to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.