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Port Houston awarded $26.9 million, mostly for electric trucks for cargo yard

April 24, 2024

Thirty new electric trucks are coming to Port Houston, as part of a federal program aimed at reducing pollution around America's ports.

Transportation officials announced Wednesday that Port Houston would receive $26.9 million for new short-haul trucks, portable chargers and other upgrades at the cargo center.

“Investing in our ports to improve air quality and reduce pollution while modernizing infrastructure and strengthening supply chains is not only the right thing but also the smart thing," said Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, who represents the areas west of the port. "What we are doing here is not only environmental justice but will help to transform the lives of thousands of workers and lay the groundwork for a brighter, more resilient future for our port."

The award was the second largest of $148 million announced as part of the Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Grant Program.

“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,” Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt said in a statement. “Port-related trade is good for the economy."

The trucks, 15 portable chargers and the installation of the hydrogen fueling station amount to $25.1 million of the award. The remaining $1.8 million will go to Jacintoport LLC to upgrade the operational systems at the location's gates.

"The terminal improvements will reduce truck idling time at the gates by at least 10 minutes, which, in turn, will ease truck congestion within the port and roads leading to the ports," federal officials said in a summary of the project.Federal officials, along with advocates for more mitigation of pollution associated with the port and Houston's petrochemical complex, have said reducing emissions from short trips and areas heavily trafficked by trucks must be part of any regional clean air strategy. 

“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 in a statement. “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.”

By Dug Begley, Houston Chronicle