State Lands Commission Lauds COVID-19 Relief Funds for California Ports

Sacramento, Calif.—Last week, Governor Newsom announced a $250 million allocation from federal stimulus funds to California ports to address revenue loss and bolster future economic activity.

Certain California ports have been hit exceptionally hard by the pandemic. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also called the COVID-19 stimulus package, provides California with as much as $26 billion and allows California to direct funding to ports to carry out their public mission and help them recover from the effects of the pandemic. The State Lands Commission championed COVID-19 relief funding for California ports in recent weeks and months.

“California’s ports are backbones to local economies and home to treasured local, regional and international tourism destination, said Lieutenant Governor and State Lands Commission Chair Eleni Kounalakis. “The funding announced yesterday will be crucial for this industry that has been so heavily impacted by the pandemic. Their continued strength and financial solvency will be an essential component of California’s economic recovery.”

Last month, the State Lands Commission adopted a resolution supporting directing funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to California ports to mitigate negative economic impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and allow them to sustain the essential services and maintain the critical infrastructure California relies on to protect jobs and recover economically. The Commission’s resolution memorializes its support for directing this funding to California ports. This action follows a briefing from the ports at the Commission’s February meeting—during which the ports briefed the Commission about their contributions to the statewide COVID-19 response, the economic challenges they face, and partnership opportunities. The ports also briefed the State Lands Commission about their significant contributions to their local and regional communities in response to the pandemic.

“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, said State Controller and State Lands Commission member Betty T. Yee.  Integral to the communities where they operate, our ports will be a critical part of the recovery of local and regional economies.”

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.

The State Lands Commission’s resolution in support of directing funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to California ports is available here.