US DOT Announces “Marine Highway” Program

The Maritime Administration announced publication of an interim final rule for the development of a Marine Highways Program aimed at mitigating landside congestion and protecting the environment.

The Interim Final Rule outlines the proposed “America’s Marine Highways Program,” and seeks input during the public comment period which ends on February 6, 2009.

The agency is seeking public comments on the construct of “America’s Marine Highways Program,” and recommendations from prospective Marine Highway Corridor sponsors for designation of corridors as set forth in the Interim Final Rule.

Applications for designation of Marine Highway Projects are not yet being accepted – a separate Federal Register notice will solicit applications for Marine Highway Projects at a future date. This was clarified in the errata to the Interim Final Rule published on October 31, 2008 (73 Fed. Reg. 64885 ).

Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton noted that stakeholder input is vital to the success of the new program. “Our goal is to craft regulations that not only identify freight and passenginer corridors of significance but develop specific waterborne transportation projects designed to reduce surface transportation congestion,” he said.

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