The federal government will establish a new national network of marine highways to help move cargo across the country in order to cut congestion on some of the nation’s busiest highways, announced U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Thomas Barrett.
The Department’s “Marine Highways” initiative calls for the selection and designation of key maritime inland and coastal maritime corridors as marine highways, the Admiral said. These routes will be eligible for up to $25 million in existing federal capital construction funds, he noted, and ensures that these communities will continue to qualify for up to $1.7 billion in federal highway congestion mitigation and air quality (CMAQ) funds.
The Deputy Secretary noted that the initiative makes it easier for companies to take advantage of the new maritime routes by providing businesses with assistance in locating shippers willing to move goods by water.
Admiral Barrett announced the new initiative, which is outlined in an interim final rule, during a visit to the Norfolk, Va., based James River Barge Line. The new service plans to move cargo up the James River to Richmond, shifting more than 4,000 trucks-worth of cargo off nearby I-64 and onto the waterway.