Port Authority terminal secures final piece of funding; construction to begin this summer

One of the unfinished segments of the Detroit RiverWalk has received the funding necessary to begin construction this summer. The Detroit Wayne County Port Authority was awarded two transportation grants for its public dock and terminal to be sited at the foot of Bates Street.

The funding allocations, one from the federal government and another from the state, brings its total amount raised for the project to $15 million, enough to construct its first phase. Final construction documents are now being reviewed by the Federal Highway Administration and the Michigan Department of Transportation. Once they are approved, hopefully by June, "you'll see some full-site mobilization out there," says John Kerr, the port's economic development specialist.

The first phase will consist of the terminal building being constructed and approximately two-thirds of its interior being built out. The completed portion will be able to serve a domestic fleet of cruise ships; the remaining portion will be built out to accommodate customs for foreign ships. "In the short term, we'll be able to accommodate all vessels that are out there today," he says. "In the long term, it will be a full-scale, international-slash-domestic terminal."

Another phase will build an offshore wharf that can dock larger ships than can currently be handled. Kerr says that funding sources have already been identified for the next two phases.

In other port news, the United States Department of Homeland Security has elevated the strategic value of the Port of Detroit from Tier III to a Tier II, which means that it is guaranteed funding on an annual basis from the federal government. Citing other Tier 2 ports like Miami, Boston and Baltimore, Kerr says this recognition is good for his agency and the city.

"We feel our unique port characteristics as an international port and border will draw emerging homeland security technology companies to our port to demonstrate and implement creative and cutting edge solutions," he says. "This will enhance our area's image as a leader in homeland security technology, while addressing critical areas of need along our waterways."

Source: John Kerr, DWCPA
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

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