A new proposed U.S. Senate bill may help fill the gap in data needed to help marine highway advocates estimate the potential market for waterborne alternatives to landside transportation.
The bill sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., gives the Maritime Administration the go-ahead to fill the data gab. It also orders the Department of Transportation to report the condition of the maritime transportation system and make recommendations for improvement by July 31, 2012.
A second report would assess the potential for shipping containers by barge on the inland waterways.
Overall, Lautenberg’s bill authorizes operation of the Maritime Administration for fiscal 2012, with a budget of $161.5 million. The bill extends the Maritime Security Program for an additional 10 years, with operating subsidies beginning at $3.1 million in fiscal 2012, to $3.7 million in fiscal 2025.
The bill also calls for a “green ship” program to research and assess emerging technologies to reduce vessel air emissions, improve fuel economy and prevent the spread of invasive species in ballast water.
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