The I-64 Express barge service. Photo: Port of Virginia

MARAD Announces Nearly $11 Million in Grants for America’s Marine Highways

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May 24, 2021

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced today the availability of grants providing $10,819,000 in funding for the America’s Marine Highway Program (AMHP).

The nation’s marine highways are an efficient and cost-effective alternative to road and rail shipping, alleviating landslide congestion while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The AMHP’s purpose is to encourage the use of America’s 25,000 miles of navigable waterways.

“The America’s Marine Highway Program increases the use of environmentally sustainable practices to move freight across our transportation system.” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “These investments help local communities reduce congestion and create more economic opportunities.”

Since its inception, the AMHP has designated 45 marine highway projects, 21 of which are currently operating.

“The America’s Marine Highway Program provides essential funding to support the expanded movement of freight by water, while also supporting port communities on our coasts and inland waterways,” said Acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley. “By investing in these services, we are able to bolster local communities and generate American jobs.”

The Maritime Administration highlighted the creation of new Marine Highway “container on barge” services on commercially navigable waterways, which has helped American jobs in U.S. ports, vessels, shipyards and surrounding areas. As an example, the Port of Virginia’s 64 Express service, connecting Hampton Roads and Richmond, Virginia via the James River, removing more than 221,000 cargo containers that would otherwise be carried by trucks along the heavily congested I-64 corridor.

“This one marine highway service has saved approximately $5.9 million in road maintenance and more than 17.5 thousand tons of carbon dioxide emissions while also supporting 1,100 direct and indirect jobs. Through previous MARAD awards, an investment of over $4 million in Federal funding leveraged $436 million in private investment in an economically distressed area near the Virginia Port Authority’s Richmond Marine Terminal,” MARAD said in a news release.

Only Marine Highway Projects previously designated by the Secretary of Transportation are eligible to receive funding under the AMHP.

Applications for the grants are due by 5:00 P.M. EDT on June 4, 2021.

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