$3.2 Million Awarded for Expansion of Barge Services at Port of Morrow

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U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released a statement applauding the Department of Transportation for awarding $3.2 million to aid the expansion of the barge services at the Port of Morrow.

The funding is made possible as a result of the Marine Highway Designation which Walden helped secure last summer for the Columbia River. The designation is a part of America’s Marine Highway Program and enables the Port of Morrow to apply for federal funding for its project to extend its barge service. The additional funding will lead to reduced transportation costs and decreased road and rail traffic. It will also enable an increase in the freight shipments along Marine Highway 84, which runs along the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

“This additional funding to support the expansion of barge services at the Port of Morrow is great news for the region,” said Walden. “The Port’s Marine Highway Project Designation that we secured last August enabled the port to compete for such funding and I am glad to see the Department of Transportation award this grant. The Columbia River system is a valuable asset for transporting wheat and other products from Eastern Oregon to the world. I am glad to have worked so closely with them to pursue Marine Highway status. This funding will improve the port’s capabilities while simultaneously increasing economic opportunity for the region. It will decrease traffic, reduce transportation costs, and bring additional jobs and growth to the area.”

The Port of Morrow also applauded the new funding.

“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, Port of Morrow executive director. “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.”

The Tidewater Barge Lines, the direct recipient of the funding, shared a similar sentiment.

“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 of 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 Port and other public stakeholders, and strong support from our congressional delegation. I thank Congressman Walden for all his work to achieve both this grant, and the original MARAD project designation that made it possible.”