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Helena Harbor renovations will cost the federal government more than $6 million

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Little Rock, Arkansas – Several port facilities, including one right here in Arkansas, will be upgraded.

More than $700 million has been allocated by the U.S. Department of Transportation to 41 projects that will enhance ports.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg claims that the funding will strengthen supply chain reliability by increasing port capacity and by making ports more effective.

Here in Arkansas, $6,412,652 will be allocated to Helena Harbor for the construction of a water tower to support industrial applications and firefighting systems in the port, which will be constructed to withstand the seismic effects of an earthquake in the New Madrid fault area. Additionally, it will pay for the development of a rail spur that will link the Industrial Park at the port’s eastern end to the North American Rail Network.

The bipartisan infrastructure law and additional appropriations from Congress are used to pay for it.

According to Buttigieg, underprivileged neighborhoods were given special attention.

“There are a lot of rural communities, lower-income communities, that maybe haven’t had the political power to get resources. We think it’s very important we’re supporting communities of all sizes,” Buttigieg said. “I think there are about 9,000 folks in Helena. But the jobs at this port support an entire regional economy, they support growers and farmers who depend on those shipping routes, and just anybody who lives in the region who will be able to get goods just a little bit more affordably.”

According to Buttigieg, the pandemic’s supply chain issues showed how urgently ports needed to be modernized. He said that at this time last year, the Port of Los Angeles had about 100 ships waiting their turn. He believes that there are currently 8 or 9. Buttigieg asserts that the situation has significantly improved as the holiday shipping season approaches.

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