MarAd seeks applications for marine highway corridors
The U.S. Maritime Administration has issued an interim rule requesting applications from parties seeking to participate in the country’s marine highway corridors initiative as required by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.
MarAd said the process would help to designate specific routes as marine highway corridors.
“The goal of this designation process is to accelerate the development of multistate and multijurisdictional marine highway corridors to relieve landside congestion along highway and railroad corridors,” MarAd said in an Oct. 9 Federal Register notice.
“Designation will encourage public/private partnerships, and help focus investment on those marine highway corridors that offer maximum potential public benefit in congestion reduction, energy efficiency, emissions reduction and other categories,” the agency said.
Applications will be accepted from a project sponsor, which must be a public entity, such as a metropolitan planning organization, state government, or port authority. Project sponsors are encouraged to develop links with the freight transportation industry for each proposed corridor.
Applications should describe the proposed marine highway corridor and its connection to existing or planned transportation infrastructure and intermodal facilities, MarAd said. It should also include key navigational factors such as draft, channel widths, bridges and lock clearances and identify how these structures might limit the service.
In addition, all applications must include primary users; organizational structure; quantity of freight; congestion reduction; and environmental, energy and safety benefits.
The U.S. marine highway system comprises more than 25,000 miles of inland, intracoastal, and coastal waterways. The system already handles the transport of about 1 billion tons of mostly domestic bulk cargoes annually, with “considerable room to grow,” MarAd said.
To read the Federal Register notice for the interim rule, access: edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-23834.htm.