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Secretary Pete Buttigieg tours the Port of Alaska, August 15, 2023

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tours the Port of Alaska in Anchorage, Alaska, August 15, 2023. Photo: Twitter/SecretaryPete

MARAD Designates New Marine Highway Routes

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 3222
August 16, 2023

The U.S. Maritime Administration has announced the designation of two new Marine Highway Routes as part of the United States Marine Highway Program (MHP), adding 6,500 miles in Alaska and nearly 250 miles on the Ohio River to the system.

Known as the M-11 and the M-79 routes, they will help speed up the movement of goods, strengthen supply chains, and support local economies in Alaska, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Eligible applicants on the routes can apply for future U.S. Marine Highway Program grants.

The new designations were announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in Alaska.

“America’s marine highways are vital links in our supply chains, helping to move goods quickly, cleanly, and efficiently,” said Secretary Buttigieg. “By expanding our marine highway system, we can strengthen our supply chains, improve port operations, and help keep goods affordable for American families.”

The aim of the United States Marine Highways Program, formerly known as America’s Marine Highway Program, is to increase the use of the country’s navigable waterways to help alleviate congestion on land, offer new and efficient transportation choices, and boost the productivity of the surface transportation system. The program collaborates closely with public and private entities to create and maintain jobs in American ports, shipyards, and on vessels, while also enhancing the nation’s supply chains.

“Our nation’s marine highway routes are navigable waterways capable of moving significant quantities of freight at lower costs than other means of transportation,” said Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips. “Since its inception in 2010, the MHP has designated 31 marine highway routes.”

New Marine Highway Routes

The M-11 Marine Highway Route (Alaska), sponsored by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, will add over 6,500 miles to the marine highway system, connecting coastal and river ports in southwestern and northern Alaska. This will enhance transportation in communities that depend on a system of ports, rivers, barge landings, and airports for the movement of goods and passengers, providing a greater range of waterborne transportation choices.

The M-79 Marine Highway Route (Pennsylvania and West Virginia), co-sponsored by the Port of Pittsburgh and the Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Organization, extends the reach of the Ohio River system by nearly 250 miles, providing a reliable and cost-effective alternative to surface transportation for local businesses and serving as an incentive for increased operations, infrastructure investments, and freight movement.

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