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US to invest heavily in marine highways

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The US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has will invest $7.5 million in nine Marine Highway projects as it looks to make the movement of cargo and people at sea and on land more efficient.

The money will be spread out among several the US’ largest coastal regions and will be part of MARAD’s Marine Highway Program, an initiative to increase use of the country’s navigable waterways to ease land side congestion, particularly for freight.

These areas are Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisana, Michigan, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

The funding will go towards major equipment upgrades, including cargo handling equipment, towboats, research vessels and training facilities, among much else.

In the case of Oregon, the money will go towards the expansion of two marine terminals at the Port of Morrow that will allow for greater access to the region and market.

“This $7.5 million investment will improve our country’s vital fuel-efficient waterway transportation system, which makes an important contribution to exports and economic growth,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

“The America’s Marine Highway Program is dedicated to expanding the use of our inland waterways for freight movement,” said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby. 

“This round of grant funding will be used to continue that expansion and ensure that our waterways are used effectively.”

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