January 25, 2024

Kilmer Announces $2.3 Million for Boat Haven at Port of Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND, WA – Today, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) announced that the Port of Port Townsend will receive $2.3 million through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program to replace the Port’s 300-ton boat lift. In June 2023, Rep. Kilmer wrote in strong support of the Port’s boat lift replacement proposal in a letter to EDA leadership.

“As someone who grew up on the Olympic Peninsula, I know how much our maritime sector means for our families and communities,” said Rep. Kilmer. “This grant to modernize the Port of Port Townsend is a terrific shot in the arm for folks here. By bringing in a new boat hoist and upgrading the Port’s maritime capabilities, we’re creating jobs and paving a path for sustainable economic growth. This is how we support the backbone of our community – the small businesses, the hardworking individuals, and everyone who contributes to our local economy.”

“Boats equal jobs and this new 300-ton Travelift will allow the Port to haul and block more boats, creating more work and more jobs for the vitally important working waterfront. This investment helps secure another generation of maritime opportunity in Jefferson County,” said Port of Port Townsend Executive Director Eron Berg.

In late 2021 and early 2022, the Port of Port Townsend and surrounding Jefferson County experienced a series of severe winter storms that resulted in two Presidential Disaster Declarations, of which Jefferson County was included (DR-4635-WA and DR-4650-WA). The storms caused heavy damage, underscoring the vulnerabilities of aging infrastructure at the Port’s Boat Haven. An essential component of this infrastructure is the Port’s 300-ton marine travel lift. With this new federal investment, the Port will purchase a new 300-ton, variable-width boat hoist to replace the existing, aging piece of machinery currently in use and maintain the operational capacity of the Boat Haven.

Port Townsend has a rich maritime history, and the industry remains a key player in the region's economy. According to the Port, this new investment will support the creation or retainment of 171 maritime jobs and will generate over $12 million in private investment. This will help the Port encourage and support job creation and business expansion, facilitate other technology and capital upgrades, and encourage productivity growth in manufacturing at the Boat Haven while attracting private investments to the community.

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is providing communities in Washington and across the country with the resources they need to grow and sustain their local economies,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “EDA is pleased to assist the Port of Port Townsend as it works to provide the maritime infrastructure the local economy needs to grow and thrive.”

“The Economic Development Administration works closely with local communities to develop place-based economic development to boost local economies,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will help ensure the Port of Port Townsend remains competitive by maximizing service and increasing capacity at its boatyard.”

“The City couldn’t be more excited for our close partners and friends at the Port of Port Townsend for their successful funding award.  We also couldn’t be more pleased for our community – especially our maritime economy, which is both part of our economic vibrancy and destiny and at the heart of who we are.  From the 1880s to today, much of our connection to the world has been through our remarkable port.  Simply put, more capacity at the yard means more quality jobs and a stronger Port Townsend for all,” said City of Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro.

This funding is made possible by the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2023, which provided EDA with an additional $483 million in EAA funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas that received a major disaster declaration under the Robert T. Stafford Act as a result of Hurricanes Ian and Fiona, wildfires, flooding, and other natural disasters occurring in calendar years 2021 and 2022.

Applications for Fiscal Year 2023 Disaster Supplemental funds are accepted on a rolling basis.

# # #