The U.S. Transportation Department on Wednesday awarded a $10.9 million TIGER 2012 grant to the City of West Memphis, Ark., to expand the city’s port.
“Once the expansion is complete, the port will be able to handle increased freight rail capacity, helping businesses send more goods to markets across the country. It will also help position the port and the region as a freight transportation leader, attracting development and creating new jobs for those living in and around West Memphis,” DOT said in a statement.
Specifically, the grant will improve railroad infrastructure at the International Rail Logistics Park. The project will increase railroad capacity within the facility, allow it to handle heavier rail carloads, and extend a rail line that will facilitate construction of a new transload facility by a private party for the export of bulk commodities by rail and barge.
The Port of West Memphis currently handles about 7,500 tons of freight a month, mostly by barge. In 2012, it handled only 800 railcars for the year. When the project is complete in 2016, it will be able to handle 350 railcars a week. - Chris Gillis