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Port lands $14M grant from USDOT for improvements

PASCAGOULA — Officials at the Port of Pascagoula say a $14-million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation will be part of a $44-million improvement project that will create a more efficient rail connection into the port

The Mississippi Press reports that the $14- million federal “TIGER” grant will be combined with $10 million from the state, $15 million from the port and $5 million from the private sector to better transport goods in and out of Bayou Casotte.

Port director Mark McAndrews said the project — which has been in the works for years — will increase capacity and make switching between two railroads more efficient.

“The project will result in the relocation of the Mississippi Export Rail Line, which winds through Moss Point and Pascagoula, to a more direct existing railroad right-of-way, netting a closure of 16 rail crossings through the two cities,” the TIGER grant application said.

“It’s a clear quality-of-life enhancement as it improves public safety with closing so many crossings,” said Jackson County Economic Development Director George Freeland. “It’s also a tremendous enhancement to move the rail interchange to the east side of Miss. 611 to provide better access to the port.”

Plans also include development of a wood pellet export terminal on Bayou Casotte.

In April, the Mississippi Legislature passed Senate Bill 2913, which earmarked $10 million of the state’s $196 million bond bill for the specialized wood pellet exporting facility, which will have a total storage capacity of 40,000 to 50,000 tons and allow for increased storage capacity in the future.

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