For Immediate Release.
Contact: Sheri Pemberton
916.477.0691 | Sheri.Pemberton@slc.ca.gov
Sacramento, Calif.— Yesterday, the Commission disbursed the third and final round of funding to California ports to mitigate the negative economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic and assist with their economic recovery. The Commission’s expedient disbursements have been vital to ports, particularly those that are visitor-serving and tourism-reliant.
“Distributing almost $250 million in recovery funding to nine California ports in less than 15 months is an extraordinary accomplishment,” said State Controller and State Lands Commission chair Betty T. Yee. “The funding prevented layoffs, facilitated clean energy investments, and was a catalyst for the economic recovery of one of California’s most critical sectors.”
Last year, Governor Newsom announced a $250 million allocation from federal stimulus funds to ports to address revenue losses and facilitate their economic recovery. The stimulus funding provided California with roughly $26 billion and allowed California to direct $250 million to ports. Last year’s state budget designated the Commission as the agency responsible for disbursing the funding to ports.
“Without this financial support and the Commission’s expediency, California’s major ports would have suffered catastrophic reductions to port operations, said Lieutenant Governor and State Lands Commission member Eleni Kounalakis. “The funding has been crucial for this industry that has been so heavily impacted by the pandemic. Their continued strength and financial solvency have been an essential component of California’s economic recovery.”
In the past year, the Commission has disbursed nearly $250 million to ports. In December 2021, the Commission disbursed the first allotment of funding, and the following April it disbursed the second allotment. Yesterday, the Commission approved the third, and final, disbursement for the remaining recovery funds. Funding decisions were based on the amount of a port’s revenue impacts, direct costs related to COVID-19, and whether the port received funds from a county or city’s recovery funds or other sources.
“California’s ports experienced significant challenges during the pandemic ranging from congestion to a loss of tourism. Because of this funding, we have been able to address critical needs, build our infrastructure, and once again welcome cruises to our docks. The Commission’s work to prioritize and quickly distribute this financial support has enabled our ports to continue to play a key role in the state’s economic recovery and resurgence,” said the California Association of Port Authorities. “The State Lands Commission is a critical partner to our successes and the California Association of Port Authorities is deeply appreciative of the Commission’s efforts to ensure our ports could rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to serve our communities in California and beyond.”
The funding the Commission disbursed over the past year helped ports recover from the dramatic economic impacts of the pandemic. The projects the funding supports will increase tourism, cargo and cruise activity, sustain essential services, maintain and develop critical infrastructure, create jobs, all of which are critical to California’s economic recovery.
The State Lands Commission oversees the management of sovereign lands and resources granted in trust by the California Legislature to the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco, San Diego, and Oakland. The Commission has residual oversight authority over these lands to ensure that ports comply with the public trust doctrine and terms of their statutory trust grants