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.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 (Pub.
signed by the President on February 15, 2019, for the Short Sea Transportation Program (America’s Marine Highways).
The Secretary of the U. S. Department of Transportation (Department) will award Marine Highway Grants to implement projects or components of projects previously designated by the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) under AMHP.
Only Marine Highway projects designated by the Secretary are eligible for funding as described in this notice.
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 39 3. The purpose of this grant program is to create new marine highway services or to expand existing marine highway services.
Only projects or their components, including planning studies, that the Secretary has previously designated as Marine Highway Projects are eligible for this round of grant funding, and they must support the development and expansion of documented vessels or of port and landside infrastructure.
However, planning studies to prove market viability are ineligible to receive Marine Highway grant funding.
The current list of designated Marine Highway Projects can be found on the Marine Highway website at:
https://www.marad.dot.gov/ wp-content/uploads/pdf/Click-here-for- Marine-Highway-Project-Designations- 1. pdf.
Marine Highway projects and their designation are described in more detail in the final rule published on December 1, 2017 46 CFR Part 393 RIN 2133-AB8 4. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, signed by the President on February 15, 2019, appropriated $7,000,000 to the Short Sea Transportation Program, commonly referred to as the America’s Marine Highway Program (AMHP).
The purpose of the appropriation is to make grants to previously designated Marine Highway Projects that support the development and expansion of documented vessels, or of port and landside infrastructure.
This notice announces the availability of funding for grants and establishes selection criteria and application requirements.
Funds for this purpose will be allocated through the Marine Highway Grant Program established in the NDAA and set forth in this notice.
Eligible applicants for funding available under this notice are an original Project Applicant of a project that the Secretary has previously designated as a Marine Highway Project or a substitute (which can be either a public entity or a private-sector entity who has been referred to the Program Office by the original Project Applicant, with a written explanation, as part of the application).
Original Project Applicants are defined as those public entities named by the Secretary in the original designated project.
Grant applicants must have operational or administrative areas of responsibility that are adjacent to or near the relevant designated Marine Highway Project.
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.
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.