The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has set up a new online resource intended to help U.S. ports plan, evaluate and finance freight transportation projects.
The new Marine Highway module of the Port Planning & Investment Toolkit (Toolkit) was produced as part of a cooperative agreement between MARAD and the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) and is designed to be easy-to-read, easy-to-understand and easy-to-execute, helping to guide ports toward fruitful investments.
The goal of the Port Planning & Investment Toolkit is to provide U.S. ports with a common framework and examples of best practices, MARAD said. Its analytical tools and guidance are designed to aid ports in developing “investment-grade” project plans and obtaining capital for their projects in a variety of ways, including: (1) assisting metropolitan and regional planning organizations and state agencies in qualifying for formula funding or aid; (2) better positioning marine highway projects for federal aid; and (3) assisting ports in obtaining private sector investments.
“This Toolkit will help the development of future port projects and improve the nation’s long-term efficiency and economic competitiveness,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
“By working together, we are helping to support investments in our ports that will pay dividends for years to come,” said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby. “I am pleased that the new module of the Toolkit focuses on investments in America’s Marine Highways, which can help reduce traffic congestion and related pollution by moving cargoes off our crowded highways and onto to our Nation’s navigable waterways.”
The marine highway module of the Port Planning & Investment Toolkit provides an overview of America’s Marine Highway Program and educates readers on how marine highway services can become designated projects by USDOT. It explains how to plan a new marine highway service, determine its feasibility and identify possible funding mechanisms. This module of the Port Planning & Investment Toolkit will be updated periodically as new regulations and policies affecting marine highway planning, feasibility and investment requirements related to the applicable laws discussed in the document are developed.
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