NEW HAVEN — The New Haven Port Authority has been awarded federal stimulus funds of about $1.1 million for fencing, cameras and lighting to enhance security, but officials are putting their highest hopes on landing a $41.3 million grant for infrastructure money that could transform the area.
Judi Sheiffele, executive director of the Port Authority, said the $41.3 million is available under Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery funds, or TIGER, which allow cities to apply for them directly, rather than through the state.
The authority is looking to support five projects, all part of its long-term strategic plan to enhance rail and waterway connections, boost the distribution of biodiesel fuels and provide more terminal storage space for maritime businesses.
“All of these projects are defined in our land use plan, but needed public funding to complete,” said Sheiffele, adding New Haven has a good shot at the funds because the planning is already done.
One of the biggest recent disappointments New Haven experienced was the sudden lack of state funds to reconstruct Waterfront Street, where the Providence and Worcester Railroad has already upgraded its track on the east side of the roadway from the southern end of the public right of way and to the intersection with Forbes Avenue.
The city spent almost $700,000 to design reconstruction of the street, one of two main arteries into the port, and the state was ready to go out to bid on the project last March, when it pulled back because of the deteriorating economy.
New Haven will now seek $6.1 million in TIGER funds to finish the project, which includes a new roadway, removal of abandoned railroad tracks and new drainage. This will allow Providence and Worcester to complete industrial sidings on the east side of Waterfront and four spur tracks to the private terminals on the west side, for which it already has funding.
Providing a direct rail connection to the marine terminals will take trucks off the road and boost the port’s ability to attract customers and businesses, Sheiffele said.
The terminals and office facilities at the port currently employ 600 people and the Waterfront Street project would add an estimated 43 direct and indirect jobs.
The second project is a $1.6 million upgrade of tanks, pipelines and pumping facilities at the north gate of New Haven Terminal to enable the storage and handling of biodiesel and bio-heat fuel.
Potential customers, including Innovation Fuels of New Jersey, could increase the capacity for “green” fuels by 14 percent, or 360,000 barrels annually at the port.
The third part of the grant application is for a $14 million project at the 286 Waterfront St. Magellan terminal where officials want to add a rail offloading facility for more efficient receipt of ethanol, as well as a pipeline connection to its storage facility at 134 Forbes Ave.
The cost is high because of infrastructure constraints at the site, including the need to relocate the Buckeye pipeline manifold and some underground piping, as well as an existing power transmission line.
The Buckeye pipeline delivers jet fuel to Bradley International Airport and the Massachusetts Air National Guard Base in Westover, Mass.
Sheiffele said that 80 percent of the 5,000 barrel current volume of daily ethanol demand at the terminal could be supplied by this new 10-car rail facility. It is estimated it would take about 24 months to complete the project.
Sheiffele said that 80 percent of the 5,000-barrel current volume of daily ethanol demand at the terminal could be supplied by this new 10-car rail facility.
The fourth project involves replacing 1,100 feet of bulkhead along the eastern side of the Quinnipiac River in the North Yard of the port off Forbes Avenue. This would provide additional space for the marine contractor located there and allow Greenleaf Fuels to transport biodiesel directly by barge from the processing facility it is planning.
The plan would cost $14 million and includes the dredging of the Quinnipiac River channel north of the Tomlinson Bridge and the adjacent barge mooring areas.
The last project is a warehouse and material handling equipment at the East Shore Parkway property that is owned by the Port Authority. The $5.1 million plan would provide protected storage areas that the authority would lease to terminal operators, while the installation of electrical connections for refrigerated containers and trailers could enhance potential business for Global Express.
The Port of New Haven is considered the busiest between Boston and New York, primarily handling petroleum products, scrap metal, cement, sand, stone, salt and general bulk cargo.
By Mary E. O’Leary, Register Topics Editor