Page 18: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (September 2022)

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Legal Beat

Inland Operators Benef t from Supply Chain Focus

It appears the federal government has awakened to the fact that inland port and waterway infrastructure investments are critical to keeping the supply chain and U.S. economy moving.

hile much of the maritime legislative and Infrastructure Law) appropriated $450 million for the PIDP, regulatory focus in 2022 has been on sup- which was supplemented by a further $234,310,000 under ply chain capacity issues at major seaports, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (Pub. L. 117-

Wsuch as the Ports of Los Angeles and Long 103, March 15, 2022) (FY 2022 Appropriations Act). On

Beach, inland vessel and marine terminal operators may end May 6, 2022, MARAD issued an amended Notice of Fund- up as direct bene? ciaries. It appears that the federal govern- ing Opportunity, announcing the availability of the entire ment has ? nally awakened to the fact that inland port and $684,310,000 in PIDP grant funding. waterway infrastructure investments are critical to keeping As a general matter, PIDP funding cannot exceed eighty the supply chain and United States economy moving. As a percent (80%) of the total project costs. However, for certain result, recent Congressional actions with regard to both the inland ports, it is notable that MARAD can increase the share

National Defense Authorization Act and the Water Resourc- above this level for projects located in a rural area (de? ned es Development Act create clear indications that Fiscal Year to mean an area located outside a 2010 Census-designated 2023 may bring unprecedented funding opportunities for in- urbanized area) or small projects at small ports (de? ned to land maritime stakeholders. mean a port with annual cargo tonnage of less than 8 million short tons seeking less than $11.25 million in funding).

Port Infrastructure Development Program

At the time of writing, the House of Representatives is America’s Marine Highways preparing for ? oor debate with regard to the annual National Moreover, the House NDAA would authorize $15 million

Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). While the process is for the American Marine Highways program, which would ? lled with partisan controversy, the included maritime title be renamed the United States Marine Highway Program un- appears to be one of the less controversial areas. More im- der a separate section of the NDAA. Along with the name portantly, the maritime title would authorize historic fund- change, the NDAA would make substantive changes to the ing in direct support of inland port infrastructure through the program, requiring qualifying projects or routes to (1) pro-

Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) existing programs. vide a coordinated and capable alternative to landside trans-

Speci? cally, the NDAA includes a $685 million authoriza- portation, (2) mitigate or relieve landside congestion, or (3) tion for MARAD’s Port Infrastructure Development Pro- promote marine highway transportation. The bill would also gram (PIDP), which provides grants for projects that im- expand the program from solely grants to also include con- prove the safety, ef? ciency, or reliability of the movement tracts and cooperative agreements. In addition, the NDAA of goods through ports and intermodal connections to ports. would add a mandatory preference “to those projects or

The proposed funding authorization would slightly exceed components that present the most ? nancially viable trans- the historic PIDP funding that was appropriated by Congress portation services and require the lowest percentage Fed- in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. The Infrastructure Investment and eral share of the costs.” While applicants have always been

Jobs Act (Pub. L. 117-58, November 15, 2021) (Bipartisan required to demonstrate that the proposed project is ? nan- 18 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • September 2022

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First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.