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Port of San Diego wins $10-million federal grant

The Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal will be redeveloped with the help of a $10-million federal transportation grant.

The Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal will be redeveloped with the help of a $10-million federal transportation grant.

(K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Unified Port of San Diego has been awarded a $10-million federal transportation grant that will be used to help fund a major redevelopment project that will improve operations and create new jobs, officials said.

The money will pay for the removal of two massive concrete sheds from the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, clearing space to improve handling of cold storage and bulk items too big for containers, officials said.

The project is expected to create 295 construction jobs and 290 permanent jobs, which will pay an average of $72,000 a year.

“In terms of impact to this region, it is enormous,” Port Chairman Dan Malcolm said at a news conference Friday. “It’s a big day for San Diego.”

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The U.S. Department of Transportation gave out $500 million in grants this year out of $10 billion requested, Deputy Maritime Administrator Mike Rodriguez said.

The Port of San Diego had applied for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIGER grant the last three years, but was unsuccessful in winning funds.

Rodriguez could not point to anything the port did differently this year. There are many good projects the government has to pass on despite legitimate merits, he said.

“We have certain priorities: Do they enhance safety?” he said. “Do they make improvements to the quality of life? Economic competitiveness?”

If everything goes according to the port’s plan, construction will begin in mid-2017. For now, it is trying to complete a draft environmental impact report by early next year.

The first thing to come down will be the 150,000-square-foot Transit Shed No.1, followed by a 200,000-square-foot shed.

The redevelopment plan calls for turning the area where the second shed is into an open area for large items, such as windmill turbines, military cargo and shipyard steel. The area where the first shed stands will become refrigerated containers for cold storage.

Malcolm said future and current job opportunities at the port will be posted on its website, PortOfSanDiego.org.

philliip.molnar@sduniontribune.com

Phillip Molnar is a staff writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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