Wyden, Merkley: Port of Morrow Barge Services Get $3.2 Million Federal Grant

Wyden, Merkley: Port of Morrow Barge Services Get $3.2 Million Federal Grant

Senators say U.S. Transportation Department grant will help expand services between Eastern Oregon port and Vancouver, Wash.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that Tidewater Barge Lines, Inc. has earned a $3.2 million federal grant to support the expansion of barge services from the Port of Morrow in Boardman to Vancouver, Wash.

“The Port of Morrow plays an essential part generating jobs in Boardman and throughout Eastern Oregon,” Wyden said. “These federal resources expanding shipping opportunities will help Eastern Oregon’s world-renowned agricultural products get to where they’re needed and allow the port to continue building a strong rural economy.”

“After working with the Port of Morrow toward making them eligible for these grants, I am thrilled to see them receive this vital funding,” Merkley said. “With this assistance, the Port—Oregon's second-largest—will be able to raise its capacity and continue serving Oregon for years to come.”

The $3.2 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant will include the procurement of a new barge capable of handling a combination of containers that will reduce area traffic by diverting freight to the underused marine corridor.

“This Marine Highway grant award allows us to acquire a new barge specially designed for expanding container service from our facilities in Vancouver to the Port of Morrow,” said Todd Busch, President & CEO, Tidewater Barge Lines. “By utilizing the Columbia River’s underused ‘Marine Highway 84’, this expansion in service will provide benefits throughout the Pacific Northwest by mitigating highway congestion, reducing air emissions, and increasing economic activity. This award is the result of a productive relationship with the Port and other public stakeholders, and strong support from our congressional delegation. I thank Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley for all their work to achieve both this grant, and the original MARAD project designation that made it possible.”

“This grant will directly support increased barge service through the Port of Morrow, helping grow the economy and create family wage jobs here in eastern Oregon,” said Ryan Neal, Executive Director, Port of Morrow. “As the Project Sponsor, the Port was proud to support this grant request, which hinged on the strong public-private between our community and Tidewater Barge Lines. I would like to thank Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley for their help securing this grant, and continued support of our efforts to expand barge service along the Columbia River.”

A web version of this release is here.