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 October 28, 2009, the President of the United
States signed the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Section 3515 of the NDAA, titled Americas Short Sea Transportation Grants for the Development of Marine Highways, amended Section 55601 of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, titled Short Sea Transportation Program.
Section 3515 of the NDAA directs the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) to establish and implement a short sea transportation grant program to implement projects or components of a project designated under subsection (d) of Section 5560 1. 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 Americas 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.
Marine Highway projects and their designation are described in detail in the final rule published on April 9, 2010, at 75 Fed.Reg 1809 5. 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.
The Maritime Administrations Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations, signed by the President of the United States on December 16, 2009, included $7,000,000 to designate and support specific projects that will create new or expanded services along designated Marine Highway Corridors. Funds for this purpose will be allocated through the Marine Highway Grant Program established in the NDAA and set forth in this notice.