The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Maritime Administration:
(WASHINGTON) — U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today released a report which will serve as a roadmap to the future in creating and further strengthening the nationâ€™s marine highways.
Prepared by the U.S. Department of Transportationâ€™s Maritime Administration, the report, Americaâ€™s Marine Highways, highlights the benefits of using coastal and river transportation as part of Americaâ€™s new clean energy economy. Congress requested the report to show how water transportation can help move the nation to a more environmentally-sustainable transportation system, reduce highway congestion and cut down on the maintenance and replacement costs of the nationâ€™s roads and bridges.
â€œAmericaâ€™s maritime transportation system is a major priority for President Obamaâ€™s administration,â€ said Secretary Ray LaHood. â€œWhen we finish Americaâ€™s fully-integrated, national marine highway system, our legacy will be more than routes on water. It will be a country less dependent on foreign oil. It will be a 21st century means of moving people and goods. It will be a future that America is prepared to win.â€
The report highlights the Departmentâ€™s accomplishments in supporting the development of Americaâ€™s marine highway system. Since formally starting the program last year, Secretary LaHood designated 18 Marine Highway Corridors that will support economic growth and create jobs in communities across the country. In addition, the Department awarded $215.3 million from the TIGER I and TIGER II (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) programs to jumpstart or expand marine highway projects. Finally, the Department commissioned a study of new ship design to serve the marine highway markets and to be useful to the military if needed.
â€œAmericaâ€™s new clean energy economy will rely on a green, efficient transportation system that means making better use of our underutilized marine highways,â€ said Maritime Administrator David Matsuda. â€œThis report is a valuable instrument in helping chart our course toward better energy security, reduced highway congestion and more balanced transportation networks.â€
The Maritime Administration promotes the development and maintenance of an adequate, well-balanced, United States merchant marine fleet, sufficient to carry the Nation’s domestic waterborne commerce and a substantial portion of its waterborne foreign commerce, and capable of service as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency. For additional information about the Maritime Administration, visit www.marad.dot.gov.