Some Maritime Transportation System (MTS) states and created their own maritime-specific funding programs, which are often intended to help ports pay for infrastructure upgrades, or improve connections to highways and railroads. This investment page provides examples of unique state and provincial programs that are explicitly intended to support maritime investments, or which have supported maritime investments in the past. In addition to the programs listed here, some states and provinces have general infrastructure or economic development grant programs for which maritime projects may be eligible, as well as nationally-mandated and state-administered freight investment programs. Therefore, the list of programs below is not comprehensive, instead it illustrates the diversity of state and provincial tools that have been used to invest in the maritime transportation system and provide opportunities for increased trade and traffic.

Some Maritime Transportation System (MTS) states and created their own maritime-specific funding programs, which are often intended to help ports pay for infrastructure upgrades, or improve connections to highways and railroads. This investment page provides examples of unique state and provincial programs that are explicitly intended to support maritime investments, or which have supported maritime investments in the past. In addition to the programs listed here, some states and provinces have general infrastructure or economic development grant programs for which maritime projects may be eligible, as well as nationally-mandated and state-administered freight investment programs. Therefore, the list of programs below is not comprehensive, instead it illustrates the diversity of state and provincial tools that have been used to invest in the maritime transportation system and provide opportunities for increased trade and traffic.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Port Development Assistance Program (PDAP) was created in 1994 and provides funding assistance to upgrade maritime facilities and infrastructure, as well as rehabilitate and expand port capacity. PDAP funds are available to Minnesota’s public port authorities, and the program is administered by the DOT’s Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations.

Funding for the PDAP program comes from Minnesota’s General Fund, and is allocated by Minnesota’s legislature. Therefore, the amount of PDAP funding available to ports varies from year-to-year, and since its creation it has awarded more than $40 million (USD) to ports on Lake Superior and the Mississippi River.  In order to receive PDAP funds, public port authorities must submit an application for funding, with a maximum state match of 80 percent, and a minimum local match of 20 percent.

Recent MTS-relevant improvements funded by the PDAP at the Port of Duluth include the construction of new warehouse facilities, the replacement of dock walls, and the creation of new road and rail connections.

The Provincial Support Program for Investments in Marine Infrastructure (PSIITM) was created in 2015. However, this program has existed since 2001 and was modified according to the marine industry needs and governmental objectives. This program emphasizes the importance of marine infrastructure and prioritizes projects that improve intermodal networks at port terminals and the overall transport of goods.  Furthermore, projects that positively impact the cost effectiveness and use of short sea shipping in domestic transportation supply chains will be favored. Eligible stakeholders include businesses, municipal organizations, and other legal entities that reside in Quebec. Consultant firms, STQ (the Quebec ferry service), and Federal Ministries are not eligible to apply.

For projects involving Canadian Port Authorities, financial contributions can cover 33% of total costs, with maximum contributions of $50 million (CAD). Other projects have contribution limits of 50%, with a contribution limit of $50 million (CAD). The highest contribution to date is $40 million (CAD) for the Port of Montreal to improve and expand their current infrastructure. Other examples of projects on the MTS include:

  • Port terminal improvements
  • Grain transit terminal improvements

Vessel modifications to carry bulk products in a short-sea shipping project.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Harbor Assistance Program (HAP) was created in 1979 to assist in maintenance and improvement of waterborne commerce at harbors on the Great Lakes and Mississippi River. 29 ports in Wisconsin are eligible for HAP funding, and 26 of these ports are located on Lake Superior or Lake Michigan. Since the program’s creation, 114 grants worth a total of $147 million (USD) have been awarded. Funding for the HAP is determined by the state legislature, and varies from year-to-year. 

The HAP program provides up to 80 percent of a project’s cost, or up to 50 percent of the local share of eligible project costs, if US Army Corps of Engineers financing is involved in the project. In order to be eligible for funding, proposed projects must be beneficial for freight, shipbuilding, fishing, or ferry service, must have been previously identified in a previous Harbor Development Plan, and must pass evaluation of a cost-benefit analysis. Local units of government, and private terminal owners are both eligible for funds.

Some examples of recent HAP investments on the GLSLS include:

  • $5 million (USD) for dredging at Fincanteri Marinette Marine’s shipyard in Marinette Harbor (2018)
  • $240,000 (USD)for repair of terminal buildings at the Port of Milwaukee (2018)
  • $1.7 million (USD) for rehabilitation of dock walls in Superior (2017)