LaHood names projects eligible for ‘Marine Highway’ funding
Just four months after unveiling the America’s Marine Highway Program, a new initiative to move more cargo on the water rather than on crowded highways, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on Aug. 11 his selection of marine highway corridors and an initial eight projects and six initiatives along the corridors that will be eligible for federal assistance under the program.
The department’s Maritime Administration chose the projects and initiatives from 35 applications submitted by ports and local transportation agencies.
“Making better use of our rivers and coastal routes offers an intelligent way to relieve some of the biggest challenges we face in transportation – congestion on our roads, climate change, fossil fuel energy use and soaring road maintenance costs,” LaHood said in a press statement. “There is no better time for us to improve the use of our rivers and coasts for transportation.”
The selected corridors are along the West, East and Gulf Coasts, the Great Lakes and many of America’s inland waterways. The Maritime Administration will assist the project sponsors in developing marine transportation services and with identifying potential freight and passenger markets. The designated projects are also eligible to compete for future Marine Highway federal funding, including $7 million in initial funding being made available today.
“These projects will help make better use of America’s Marine Highway by reducing gridlock, improving the environment, and putting skilled mariners and shipbuilders to work,” said David Matsuda, maritime administrator, in a written statement.
The selected projects include the following:
Cross Sound Enhancements Project (Connecticut Department of Transportation): this project will improve ferry capacity and reduce environmental impacts by upgrades to three passenger vehicle/ferries operating between New London, CT, and Orient Point in Long Island, NY.
New England Marine Highway Expansion Project (Maine Department of Transportation): this project will expand an existing container-on-barge service operating between Newark, NJ, Boston, MA, and Portland, ME. Service capacity and reliability will be improved by the addition of a more seaworthy vessel in the service.
Cross Gulf Container Expansion (Ports of Manatee, FL, and Brownsville, TX): will expand an existing container-on-barge operation by increasing the frequency and capacity of the service between Brownsville, TX, and Port Manatee, FL, across the Gulf of Mexico.
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