Sacramento, CA – This morning, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California’s public ports will receive $250 million as part of the state’s allocation of funding from the American Rescue Plan. The funds will help California’s ports recover from the dramatic losses in revenue they experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Newsom made the announcement during the California Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 Virtual Capitol Summit & Host Breakfast. He said, “We’re putting $250 million to invest in our ports that have lost tremendous amounts of revenue and need to be more competitive in terms of their positioning to the world around us.”
California Association of Port Authorities Vice President & Executive Director for the Port of Oakland Danny Wan noted the significant role California ports have played during the pandemic. “Over the course of the past year, California ports have stepped up to meet the challenges caused by this historic public health and economic crisis because we understand that our continued operation is critical to the health and welfare of communities across our state,” said Wan. “These funds will play a critical role to ensuring California’s ports can help our state rebound and put Californians back to work.”
Over the course of the past year, tourism, travel, and hospitality services such as cruises, hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, and conventions stalled and then ground to a halt. As a result, some of California’s ports have faced over 50% declines in revenue compared to last year. Despite major losses due to the pandemic, California seaports had not received state or federal relief up to this point.
Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, California’s Representative for International Affairs and Trade, applauded the investment by Governor Newsom. “California is home to the most sophisticated network of ports in the nation, they are the lifeblood of our economy and will be an integral part of our state’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.”
Controller Betty Yee, a member of the State Lands Commission, echoed these sentiments: “I applaud Governor Newsom for recognizing the important role of California’s ports in moving commerce safely, maintaining critical infrastructure, and managing our sovereign public trust lands and resources for the benefit of all Californians. Integral to the communities where they operate, our ports will be a critical part of the recovery of local and regional economies.”
Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), who led this advocacy effort on behalf of his colleagues in the Legislature, said, “I want to thank Governor Newsom for recognizing the need to support our ports during this challenging time. Ports are essential to so many sectors of our economy, and this funding helps ensure they can continue that crucial work.”
The 11 major commercial ports that comprise the California Association of Port Authorities handle 40% of all containerized imports and 30% of all exports in the U.S. – reaching every corner of the country. This cargo is responsible for more than 1 million California jobs and 3 million jobs nationally. Collectively, the California ports are the most consequential system of ports in the nation.