US government launches port planning toolkit

US government launches port planning toolkit

The US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has launched a new Marine Highway module of the Port Planning & Investment Toolkit help US ports plan, evaluate, and finance freight transportation projects. 

According to a statement the toolkit, which was produced as part of a cooperative agreement between MARAD and the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) and will guide ports towards more “fruitful” investment.

The goal of the Port Planning & Investment Toolkit is to provide U.S. ports with a common framework and examples of best practices, according to MARAD.  The analytical tools and guidance contained in this comprehensive resource are designed to aid ports in developing “investment-grade” project plans and obtaining capital for their projects in a variety of ways

This includes assisting metropolitan and regional planning organizations and state agencies in qualifying for formula funding or aid, as well as better positioning marine highway projects for federal aid and assisting ports in obtaining private sector investments.

Furthermore, the toolkit is intended to help ports evaluate current conditions, define problems and help them through the pre-planning process. Critically it will also offer advice on engaging private sector partners, access available funding and present actionable needs to administrators, as well implement approved projects.

“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

said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby also commented: “By working together, we are helping to support investments in our ports that will pay dividends for years to come.”

“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.”

MARAS said the 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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