LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Little Rock Port Authority has received a multi-million-dollar federal grant for various improvements from the United States Department of Transportation.

The announcement Tuesday by Arkansas lawmakers Rep. French Hill, Senator John Boozman and Senator Tom Cotton said that the funding was made available through a discretionary grant program as part of the department’s fiscal year 2021 budget which the lawmakers all voted to approve.

According to the release, the lawmakers sent a letter to DOT secretary Pete Buttigieg in November 2021 outlining their support for the grant.  

“LRPA serves as a vital economic engine for central Arkansas and continues to expand its freight capacity on the river and railways,” Hill, Boozman, and Cotton said in a joint statement. “This grant will facilitate much-needed railcar storage and an engine maintenance facility while improving safety for all users, reducing congestion on area roadways, and providing more environmentally friendly modes of commerce. We’re looking forward to following the continued economic growth in the region in the years to come.”

This grant will support the Port of Little Rock Freight Rail Capacity Improvement Project, which will add 11,215 feet of track at the Slackwater Harbor and north Marshaling Yard.

Money from the grant will also go towards constructing an engine maintenance facility at the LRPA, which will have the capacity to store and service two locomotives with room for future expansion, house crew offices, a training room with modern technology and equipment, as well as rooms purposed for storage, training, and shelter in case of emergency.

“The Port of Little Rock is excited about receiving the CRISI grant and we thank our Congressional Delegation for always being supportive of our efforts. As Arkansas’s largest industrial park, the Port of Little Rock must continue looking for ways to invest in our infrastructure to remain competitive on the global stage. This grant will help us meet current and future needs and allow the Port to keep growing jobs for our community,” Bryan Day, Executive Director, Port of Little Rock added.