A group of about 50 Port of Lewiston customers, local elected officials, and reporters have been asked to attend an invitation-only Wednesday visit of a White House Cabinet official.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will tour the Port of Lewiston port dock at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to a news release issued Monday by the port.
LaHood will be joined by Idaho Governor C.L. (Butch) Otter, U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, and U.S. Senator Jim Risch in an event expected to last about 45 minutes.
Wood products and agriculture entrepreneurs will also be among the guests, said David Doeringsfeld, Lewiston port manager. “It’s not often you get a Cabinet secretary in Lewiston, and we’re pretty excited.”
LaHood will be underlining a June $1.3 million federal grant to the port’s container dock expansion from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grant program, Doeringsfeld said.
“There were only 47 of these (grants) throughout the United States and of the 47, only seven went to ports,” Doeringsfeld said.
The port will add 150 feet to the 125-foot dock in a project scheduled for next summer.
In addition to the federal money, the $2.9 million project has received a $600,000 loan from the Idaho Rural Economic Development and Integrated Freight Program.
The port handles peas, lentils, garbanzo beans, and paper products bound for overseas at its container dock. The goods are shipped down the Snake and Columbia rivers before stopping in Portland, where they’re loaded onto larger vessels that go across the Pacific Ocean.
The last time a transportation secretary visited Idaho was in June 2005, when Norman Mineta spoke to the City Club of Boise. The title of his speech was “Getting There: The Challenges in Transportation,” according to the Idaho Transportation Department.
(By Elaine Williams, The Lewiston Tribune)