Maritime Administration: Marine Highway Grants February 6, 2018

Maritime Administration: Marine Highway Grants

This notice announces the availability of funding for Marine Highway grants, and establishes selection criteria and application requirements. Sponsors of designated Marine Highway Projects are eligible to apply for a Marine Highway Grant.

On January 2, 2018, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) amended its America’s Marine Highway Program (AMHP) regulations to implement updated provisions of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012 (CGMTA), the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 (NDAA), and to clarify AMHP processes. The revisions expand the purpose of the AMHP to include promoting short sea transportation, update the definition of short sea transportation, and streamline the regulation to highlight procedures and resources available to program participants. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 added the carriage by a documented vessel of cargo that is

(1) Shipped in discrete units, or packages that are handled individually palletized or,

(2) utilized for purposes of transportation or freight vehicles carried aboard commuter ferry boats.

As part of its systematic review of existing regulations, MARAD is updating its AMHP implementing regulations to conform to the above-referenced statutory changes and streamline the regulations for ease of use. Accordingly, the AMHP regulations are revised to add:

(1) “promote short sea shipping” as a purpose of the AMHP;

(2) re-designate “corridors, connectors, and crossings” as used in the rule as “Routes” for purposes of simplicity;

(3) expand and clarify the definition of AMHP-eligible cargo to include discrete units or packages that are handled individually, palletized, or unitized as well as freight vehicles carried aboard commuter ferry boats;

(4) add a requirement for the project sponsors to provide updates on project status;

(5) expand the eligibility criteria for services and Routes that may participate in AMHP;

(6) clarify criteria for Project Designation; and,

(7) reorganize the regulations for ease of use in 46 CFR Part 393.

Marine Highway Projects are new, waterborne transportation services, or expansions of existing services operating between U.S. ports or between U.S. ports and ports in Canada in the Great Lakes Saint Lawrence Seaway. Projects are proposed by a project sponsor and formally designated by the Secretary under the America’s Marine Highway Program. Projects that reduce external cost and provide public benefit by transporting passengers and/or freight (container or wheeled) in support of all or a portion of a Marine Highway Corridor, Connector, or Crossing may receive support from DOT and are eligible to compete for Marine Highway grants under the program described in this notice.

It is neither the purpose nor the intent of these grants to shift passengers or freight currently moving by water to another water service, but rather to expand the use of marine transportation where landside transportation is currently being utilized and when the water option represents the best overall option. Therefore, a project that directly competes with another, existing Marine Highway service will not be considered for a grant award. In order to receive a grant under the program, applicants are required to:

(a) submit an application to the Secretary in such form and manner, at such time, and containing such information as the Secretary may require, and

(b) demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the project is financially viable, the funds received will be spent efficiently and effectively, and a market exists for the services of the proposed project as evidenced by contracts or written statements of intent from potential customers.

Applicants are required to provide at least 20 percent of the project costs from non-Federal sources. In awarding grants under the program, the Secretary shall give preference to those projects or components that present the most financially viable transportation services and require the lowest percentage Federal share of the costs. A plan is financially viable upon demonstration to the Secretary of Transportation that the project will be sustainable in a specified and reasonable timeframe.

Applicants eligible for Marine Highway Grants are project sponsors that have received designation by DOT for a specific Marine Highway Project under the America’s Marine Highway Program. Project sponsors are public entities, including but not limited to, Metropolitan Organizations, State governments (including State Departments of Transportation, and port authorities

The full notice can be found here: