[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 7 (Wednesday, January 11, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 3250-3258]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-00249]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Maritime Administration

46 CFR Part 393

[Docket Number MARAD-2016-0130]
RIN 2133-AB84


Revision of the America's Marine Highway Program Regulations

AGENCY: Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation.

ACTION: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: This notice serves to inform interested parties and the public 
that the Maritime Administration (MARAD) proposes to revise in full 
Title 46 Part 393 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which concerns 
the America's Marine Highway Program (AMHP). This action is necessary 
to implement provisions of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation 
Act of 2012 (CGMTA), to improve AMHP processes and to streamline the 
regulations. MARAD solicits written comments on this proposed 
rulemaking.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before March 13, 2017. MARAD 
will consider comments filed after this date to the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by DOT Docket Number 
MARAD-2016-0130 by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Search MARAD-2016-0130 and follow the instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Email: [email protected]. Include MARAD-2016-0130 in the subject 
line of the message.
     Mail/Hand-Delivery/Courier: Docket Management Facility; 
U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room 
W12-140, Washington, DC 20590. If you would like to know that your 
comments reached the facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed 
postcard or envelope.
     The Docket Management Facility is open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays.
     You may view the public comments submitted on this 
rulemaking at http://www.regulations.gov. When searching for comments, 
please use the Docket ID: MARAD-2016-0130.

    Note: If you fax, mail or hand-deliver your input, we recommend 
that you include your name and a mailing address, an email address, 
or a telephone number in the body of your document so that we can 
contact you if we have questions regarding your

[[Page 3251]]

submission. If you submit your inputs by mail or hand-delivery, they 
must be submitted in an unbound format, no larger than 8 \1/2\ by 11 
inches, single-sided, suitable for copying and electronic filing.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name 
and docket number or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) for this 
rulemaking. All comments received will be posted without change to the 
docket at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and 
additional information on the rulemaking process, see the section 
entitled Public Participation.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Pickering, Office of Marine 
Highways and Passenger Services, at (202) 366-0704, or via email at 
[email protected]. You may send mail to Mr. Pickering at Office of Marine 
Highways and Passenger Services, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590. If you have questions on viewing the Docket, call 
Docket Operations, telephone: (800) 647-5527.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background Information

What laws authorize America's Marine Highway Program?

    The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) authorized 
the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) to promulgate regulations 
to implement the AMHP. The Secretary of Transportation delegated 
authority to the Maritime Administrator to issue AMHP implementing 
regulations. On April 9, 2010, MARAD published in the Federal Register 
final regulations implementing the AMHP (75 FR 18101).
    The Secretary, in consultation with the Environmental Protection 
Agency, submitted a Report to Congress in April 2011 that included a 
description of the benefits of the AMHP and activities conducted under 
the program. It also included recommendations for further legislative 
and administrative action that the Secretary considered appropriate.
    In December 2012, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act 
of 2012 (CGMTA), which built on some of the ideas in the report, was 
signed into law. The CGMTA expanded the scope of the AMHP by adding the 
words ``or to promote short sea transportation'' to the existing 
purpose of reducing landside congestion. This added language expanded 
the focus of the AMHP to include efforts that increase utilization or 
efficiency of short sea transportation on designated Marine Highway 
Routes.
    In November 2015, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 
Year 2016 added to the definition of short sea transportation, that is 
the subject of the AMHP, to include the carriage by a documented vessel 
of cargo that is: (1) shipped in discrete units, or packages that are 
handled individually, palletized; or, (2) unitized for purposes of 
transportation or freight vehicles carried aboard commuter ferry boats.

Discussion

Why and how is MARAD revising the regulations?

    As part of our routine systematic review of existing regulations, 
MARAD is updating its AMHP implementing regulations to conform to 
statutory changes and streamline the regulations for ease of use. 
Accordingly, the proposed rule revises in full the AMHP implementing 
regulations to: (1) Add ``promote short sea shipping'' as a purpose of 
the AMHP; (2) redesignate ``corridors, connectors, and crossings'' as 
used in the rule as ``Routes'' for purposes of simplicity; (3) expand 
and clarify the definition of AMHP-eligible cargo to include discrete 
units or packages that are handled individually, palletized, or 
unitized as well as freight vehicles carried aboard commuter ferry 
boats; (4) add a requirement for the project sponsors to provide 
updates on project status; (5) expand the eligibility criteria for 
services and Routes that may participate in AMHP; (6) clarify criteria 
for Project Designation; and, (7) reorganize the regulations for ease 
of use.

What is the purpose of the AMHP?

    Congress authorized the AMHP to promote short sea shipping by 
designating routes, also called Marine Highways, as a way to relieve 
congestion on America's roads and railways. Marine Highway designations 
are intended to assist the maritime industry in meeting national 
freight transportation needs. The AMHP encourages the use of marine 
transportation to reduce freight and passenger travel delays caused by 
congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve energy, improve 
safety, and reduce landside infrastructure maintenance costs.
    Congestion on the U.S. surface transportation system significantly 
impacts America's economic prosperity and way of life. Overall, the 
U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) estimates that congestion on 
our roads, bridges, railways, and in ports costs the United States as 
much as $200 billion a year and projects that cargoes moving through 
our ports will nearly double over the next 15 years. Most of this 
additional cargo will ultimately move along our surface transportation 
corridors, many of which are already at or beyond capacity.

Public Participation

How do I submit comments on the proposed rule?

    Your comments must be written and in English. Include the docket 
number in your comments to ensure that your comments are correctly 
filed in the Docket. We encourage you to provide concise comments; 
however, you may attach additional documents as necessary. There is no 
limit on the length of the attachments. Please submit your comments, 
including the attachments, following the instructions provided under 
the above entitled heading ADDRESSES.
    MARAD will consider all comments received before the close of 
business on the comment closing date indicated above under DATES. To 
the extent possible, MARAD will also consider comments received after 
that date. If a comment is received too late for MARAD to consider in 
developing a final rule, MARAD will consider that comment as an 
informal suggestion for future rulemaking action.
    For access to the docket to read background documents, including 
those referenced in this document, or to submit or read comments 
received, go to the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Room W12-
140, Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Management Facility is open 9:00 
a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays. 
To review documents, read comments or to submit comments, the docket is 
also available online at http://www.regulations.gov., keyword search 
MARAD-2016-0130.
    Please note that even after the comment period has closed, MARAD 
will continue to file relevant information in the Docket as it becomes 
available. Further, some people may submit late comments. Accordingly, 
MARAD recommends that you periodically check the Docket for new 
material.

Will my comments be made available to the public?

    Before including your address, phone number, email address or other 
personal information in your comment, be aware that your entire 
comment, including

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your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available.

May I submit comments confidentially?

    If you wish to submit comments under a claim of confidentiality, 
you should submit three copies of your complete submission, including 
the information you claim to be confidential business information, to 
the Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, Office of 
Legislation and Regulations, MAR-225, W24-220, 1200 New Jersey Avenue 
SE, Washington, DC 20590. When you send comments containing information 
claimed to be confidential information, you should include a cover 
letter setting forth with specificity the basis for any such claim and, 
if possible, a summary of your submission that can be made available to 
the public.

Procedural Matters and Required Determinations

Privacy Act

    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), USDOT solicits comments from 
the public to better inform its rulemaking process. USDOT posts these 
comments, without edit, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the 
system of records notice, DOT/ALL-14 FDMS, accessible through 
www.dot.gov/privacy. In order to facilitate comment tracking and 
response, we encourage commenters to provide their name, or the name of 
their organization; however, submission of names is completely 
optional. Whether or not commenters identify themselves, all timely 
comments will be fully considered. If you wish to provide comments 
containing proprietary or confidential information, please contact the 
agency for alternate submission instructions.

Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), 13563 
(Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) and DOT Regulatory 
Policies and Procedures

    Under Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993), 
supplemented by EO13563 (76 FR 3821, January 18, 2011) and USDOT 
policies and procedures, MARAD must determine whether a regulatory 
action is ``significant,'' and therefore subject to the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) review and the requirements of the Order. 
The Order defines ``significant regulatory action'' as one likely to 
result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of 
$100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, 
a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the 
environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal 
government or communities. (2) Create a serious inconsistency or 
otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another Agency. 
(3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user 
fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients 
thereof. (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in 
the E.O.
    MARAD has determined that this notice of proposed rulemaking is not 
considered a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of E.O. 
12866 and, therefore, it was not reviewed by OMB. This rulemaking will 
not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. 
It is also not considered a major rule for purposes of Congressional 
review under Pub. L. 104-121. This rulemaking is also not significant 
under the Regulatory Policies and Procedures of the Department of 
Transportation (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979). The costs and overall 
economic impact of this rulemaking do not require further analysis.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    MARAD analyzed this rulemaking in accordance with the principles 
and criteria contained in E.O. 13132 (``Federalism'') and has 
determined that it does not have sufficient Federalism implications to 
warrant the preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. This 
rulemaking has no substantial effect on the States, or on the current 
Federal-State relationship, or on the current distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various local officials. Nothing in this 
document preempts any State law or regulation. Therefore, MARAD was not 
required to consult with State and local officials.

Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal 
Governments)

    MARAD does not believe that this rulemaking will significantly or 
uniquely affect the communities of Indian tribal governments when 
analyzed under the principles and criteria contained in E.O. 13175 
(Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments); 
therefore, the funding and consultation requirements of this Executive 
Order do not apply.

Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)

    The regulations implementing E.O. 12372 regarding intergovernmental 
consultation on Federal programs and activities do not apply to this 
rulemaking.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 requires MARAD to assess 
whether this rulemaking would have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities and to minimize any adverse 
impact. MARAD certifies that this rulemaking will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Environmental Assessment

    MARAD has evaluated this proposed rule under Maritime 
Administrative Order (MAO) 600-1, ``Procedures for Considering 
Environmental Impacts,'' 50 FR 11606 (March 22, 1985), which guides the 
MARAD in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 
42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq. MARAD has determined that this proposed rule is 
not a major action (requiring the preparation of an environmental 
impact statement or environmental assessment) because it is 
categorically excluded from detailed environmental review pursuant to 
section 4.05 of MAO 600-1. Section 4.05 reads, in pertinent part, 
``[c]ategorical exclusions are Maritime Administration actions or 
groups of actions that do not have a significant effect on the quality 
of the human environment, individually or cumulatively. Categorical 
exclusions do not require preparation of environmental documents. 
Appendix 1 of this order describes the Maritime Administration's 
categorical exclusions.'' This action falls under Categorical Exclusion 
#3 because MARAD proposes to promulgate ``regulations . . . which do 
not require a regulatory impact analysis under section 3 of Executive 
Order 12291 or do not have a potential to cause a significant effect on 
the environment . . .'' MAO 600-1, App.1, pg. 1.
    In accordance with section 4.05 and Appendix 2 of MAO 600-1, the 
Agency has further concluded that no extraordinary circumstances exist 
with respect to this regulation that might trigger the need for a more 
detailed environmental review. As a result, MARAD finds that this 
proposed regulatory revision is not a major Federal action 
significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. We seek 
any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a 
significant environmental impact from this proposed rule.

[[Page 3253]]

Executive Order 13211 (Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use)

    MARAD has determined that this rulemaking will not significantly 
affect energy supply, distribution, or use. Therefore, no Statement of 
Energy Effects is required.

Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This action meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of E.O. 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminates 
ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property)

    This rulemaking will not affect a taking of private property or 
otherwise have taking implications under E.O. 12630, Governmental 
Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property 
Rights.

International Trade Impact Assessment

    This rulemaking is not expected to contain standards-related 
activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of 
the United States.

Privacy Impact Assessment

    Section 522(a)(5) of the Transportation, Treasury, Independent 
Agencies, and General Government Appropriations Act, 2005 (Pub. L. 108-
447, div. H, 118 Stat. 2809 at 3268) requires the USDOT and certain 
other Federal agencies to conduct a privacy impact assessment of each 
proposed rule that will affect the privacy of individuals. Claims 
submitted under this rule will be treated the same as all legal claims 
received by MARAD. The processing and treatment of any claim within the 
scope of this rulemaking by MARAD shall comply with all legal, 
regulatory and policy requirements regarding privacy.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires Agencies to 
evaluate whether an Agency action would result in the expenditure by 
State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the 
private sector, of $141.3 million or more (as adjusted for inflation) 
in any 1 year, and if so, to take steps to minimize these unfunded 
mandates. This rulemaking will not impose unfunded mandates under the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. It will not result in costs of 
$141.3 million or more to either State, local, or tribal governments, 
in the aggregate, or to the private sector, and is the least burdensome 
alternative that achieves the objectives of the rule.

Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)

    A regulation identifier number (RIN) is assigned to each regulatory 
action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. The 
Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in 
April and October of each year. The RIN number contained in the heading 
of this document can be used to cross-reference this action with the 
Unified Agenda.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    We would evaluate any rule that might be promulgated to determine 
whether it would be expected to significantly change the current 
requirement for the collection of information.

Clarity of These Regulations

    E.O. 12866 requires each Agency to write regulations that are easy 
to understand. We invite your comments on how to make this proposed 
rule easier to understand. Including answers to questions such as the 
following:
    (1) Are the requirements in the proposed rule clearly stated?
    (2) Does the proposed rule contain technical language or 
terminology that interferes with its clarity?
    (3) Does the format of the proposed rule (grouping and order of 
sections, use of headings, paragraphs, etc.) aid or reduce its clarity?
    (4) Would the rule be easier to understand if it were divided into 
more but shorter sections (a ``section'' appears in bold type and is 
preceded by the symbol ``Sec.  '' and a numbered heading; for example, 
``Sec.  393.21 Who can apply?'')
    (5) Is the description of the proposed rule in the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION part of this preamble helpful in understanding the proposed 
rule?
    (6) What else could we do to make the proposed rule easier to 
understand? Send a copy of any comments that concern how we could make 
this proposed rule easier to understand to: Division of Legislation and 
Regulations, Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, 
Office of the Chief Counsel, Room W24-220, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., 
Washington, DC 20590. You may also email the comments to this address: 
[email protected].

List of Subjects

46 CFR Part 393

    America's Marine Highway Program--Short sea transportation, Marine 
highway route and project application and designation, Marine highway 
incentive, Research, Transportation.


0
For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Maritime Administration 
proposes to revise 46 CFR part 393 to read as follows:

PART 393--AMERICA'S MARINE HIGHWAY PROGRAM

Subpart A--General Provisions

393.1 Special definitions.

Subpart B--Marine Highway Program Designations

393.2 Marine Highway Routes.
393.3 Marine Highway Projects.

Subpart C--Department of Transportation Efforts to Foster and Support 
America's Marine Highways

393.4 DOT Support for Planning Activities.
393.5 DOT Support for Marine Highway-Related Research.
393.6 America's Marine Highway Program Project Grants.

Subpart A--General Provisions


Sec.  393.1  Special definitions.

    For the purposes of this part, when used in capitalized form:
    (a) Administrator means the Maritime Administrator, Maritime 
Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation USDOT. The 
Administrator is responsible for administering the America's Marine 
Highway Program (AMHP) and making route and project recommendations to 
the Secretary.
    (b) Department means the U.S. Department of Transportation.
    (c) Cargo on a Marine Highway service means goods transported in 
commerce and generally refers to, but is not limited by, the types and 
kinds of cargo that are described in the definition of ``Short Sea 
Transportation'', below. Neither weight nor proportionality are 
considered under this definition. The term as used in this context is 
generally interchangeable with the term ``Freight'', defined below.
    (d) Freight on a Marine Highway service means goods transported in 
commerce and generally refers to, but is not limited by, the types and 
kinds of cargo that are described in the definition of ``Short Sea 
Transportation'', below. Neither weight nor proportionality are 
considered under this definition. The term as used in this context is 
generally interchangeable with the term ``Cargo'', defined above.
    (e) Marine Highway Routes or Routes mean commercially navigable 
coastal, inland, and intracoastal waters of the United States as 
designated by the Secretary. This includes connections between U.S. 
ports and Canadian ports on the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway 
System, and non-contiguous

[[Page 3254]]

U.S. ports. Marine Highway Routes are a component of the Nation's 
surface transportation system. Each Marine Highway Route is described 
in terms of the specific landside transportation routes (road or 
railway) that it supplements or to which it connects. All previously 
designated Marine Highway ``corridors,'' ``connectors,'' and 
``crossings'' are now designated as ``Routes.''
    (f) Marine Highway Projects are planned or contemplated new 
services, or expansions of existing services, on designated Marine 
Highway Routes, that seek to provide new modal choices to shippers, 
reduce transportation costs, and/or provide public benefits, which 
include reduced air emissions, reduced road maintenance costs, and 
improved safety and resiliency impacts. Project Applicants propose 
projects and the Secretary may designate projects consistent with this 
part.
    (g) Project Applicant means a public entity withe operations, or 
administrative areas of responsibility, that are adjacent to or near 
the relevant Route that applies for designation of a Marine Highway 
Project pursuant to this part. Eligible applicants include State 
governments (including State departments of transportation), 
metropolitan planning organizations, port authorities and tribal 
governments.
    (h) Program Office means Office of Marine Highways and Passenger 
Services.
    (i) Route Sponsors are public entities with operations or 
administrative areas of responsibility that are adjacent to or related 
to the relevant Route that recommend a commercially navigable waterway 
for designation as a Marine Highway Route. Eligible Route Sponsors 
include State governments (including State departments of 
transportation), metropolitan planning organizations, port authorities, 
non-Federal navigation districts and tribal governments.
    (j) Secretary means the Secretary of Transportation.
    (k) Short Sea Transportation means the carriage by a U.S. 
documented vessel of cargo--
    (1) That is--
    (i) Contained in intermodal cargo containers and loaded by crane on 
the vessel;
    (ii) Loaded on the vessel by means of wheeled technology;
    (iii) Shipped in discrete units or packages that are handled 
individually, palletized, or unitized for purposes of transportation; 
or
    (iv) Freight vehicles carried aboard commuter ferry boats; and,
    (2) That is--
    (i) Loaded at a port in the United States and unloaded either at 
another port in the United States or at a port in Canada located in the 
Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway System; or,
    (ii) Loaded at a port in Canada located in the Great Lakes-Saint 
Lawrence Seaway System and unloaded at a port in the United States.
    (l) United States Documented Vessel means a vessel documented under 
46 CFR part 67.

Subpart B--Marine Highway Route and Project Designations


Sec.  393.2  Marine Highway Routes.

(a) What are the minimum eligibility requirements for MARAD to 
recommend a Marine Highway Route for the Secretary to designate?

    (1) MARAD may recommend Marine Highway Routes that relieve landside 
congestion along coastal corridors or that promote short sea 
transportation; and,
    (2) That advance the objectives of the AMHP in paragraph (c) of 
this section.

(b) When can a Route Sponsor request designation of a Marine Highway 
Route?

    (1) The Department accepts Marine Highway Route designation 
requests any time. Route Sponsors must submit designation requests 
through the Program Office.
    (2) The Maritime Administration publishes all designated Routes on 
its Web site. Go to http://www.marad.dot.gov and search ``America's 
Marine Highways'' to see the current list.

(c) What should Route Sponsors consider when preparing Marine Highway 
Route designation requests?

    (1) Route Sponsors designation requests should explain how a 
proposed route will help achieve the following objectives:
    (i) Establishing Marine Highway Routes as extensions of the 
national surface transportation system;
    (ii) Developing multi-jurisdictional coalitions and partnerships 
that focus public and private efforts to improve reliability and 
resiliency of the Route for freight and passengers;
    (iii) Obtaining public benefits as described in paragraph 
(d)(1)(vi) of this section; and,
    (iv) Identifying potential savings that could be realized by 
providing an alternative to existing supply chains through short sea 
transportation.
    (2) [Reserved].

(d) What information should Route Sponsors include in their designation 
requests?

    (1) One or more eligible Route Sponsors may submit Marine Highway 
Route designation requests to the Program Office. Designation requests 
should include the following information:
    (i) Physical Description of the Proposed Marine Highway Route. 
Describe the proposed Marine Highway Route, and its connection to 
existing or planned transportation infrastructure and intermodal 
facilities. Include key navigational factors such as available draft, 
channel width, bridge air draft or lock clearance, and any foreseeable 
impacts on navigation or commerce. When available, include one or more 
maps of the proposed Route.
    (ii) Surface Transportation Regions Served. (A) Land transportation 
routes that would benefit. Provide a summary of any land transportation 
route that the Marine Highway Route would benefit. Include a 
description of the route, its primary users, the nature, locations and 
occurrence of travel delays, urban areas affected, and other geographic 
or jurisdictional issues that impact its overall operation and 
performance.
    (B) U.S. Domestic Shipping Lane Served. For Marine Highway Routes 
that pass through waters outside U.S. territorial waters, provide a 
summary of the shipping routes or trade lanes that the Marine Highway 
Route would benefit. Include a description of the route, its primary 
users, the nature, locations and occurrence of travel delays, urban 
areas affected, and other geographic or jurisdictional issues that 
impact its overall operation and performance.
    (iii) Involved Parties. Provide the organizational structure of the 
Route Sponsors and supporters recommending the Route designation, 
including business affiliations and private sector stakeholders. Multi-
jurisdictional coalitions may include State Departments of 
Transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, municipalities and 
other governmental entities (including tribal governments). Include the 
extent to which these entities have expressed support for the route 
designation and describe any affiliations with environmental groups or 
civic associations, or affiliations with any foreign interests.
    (iv) Volume and Characteristics. If authoritative data are 
available, provide the volume of passengers and/or cargo that are 
candidates for shifting to water transportation on the proposed Route. 
Otherwise provide estimates for this

[[Page 3255]]

information, include identified shippers, manufacturers, distributors, 
and other entities that could benefit from a Marine Highway 
alternative, and the extent to which these entities have expressed 
support for the Marine Highway Route designation request.
    (v) Congestion Reduction. Describe the extent to which the proposed 
Route could relieve landside congestion in measurable terms, if 
applicable. Include any known offsetting land transportation 
infrastructure savings (either construction or maintenance) that would 
likely result from the Route, if applicable.
    (vi) Public benefits. Provide, if known, the net savings over 
status quo in emissions, including greenhouse gases, energy 
consumption, landside infrastructure maintenance costs, safety and 
system resiliency. Specify if the Marine Highway Route represents the 
most cost-effective option among other modal improvements. Include 
consideration of the implications future growth may have on the 
proposed Route.
    (vii) Public costs. If applicable and known, identify any costs 
that may result from designation of the route. If able, provide costs 
that are quantifiable such as the additional cost of emissions or 
energy consumption required to effectively leverage the benefits of the 
designated route. These costs should be a component in the net savings 
identified in (d)(6) above.
    (viii) Impediments. Describe known or anticipated obstacles to 
utilization of the proposed Marine Highway Route. Include any 
strategies, either in place or proposed, to deal with the impediments.
    (2) [Reserved].

(e) How will the Program Office evaluate and recommend Marine Highway 
Route designation applications?

    (1) The Program Office will evaluate and recommend Route 
Designations based on an analysis and technical review of the 
information provided by the Route Applicant. The Maritime 
Administration will recommend Routes that receive a favorable technical 
review, and meet other criteria described in this part, for designation 
by the Secretary.
    (2) The Program Office may consider additional factors and may 
request supplemental information during the review process. USDOT will 
notify Route Applicants as to the status of their application in 
writing once the Secretary makes a determination.


Sec.  393.3  Marine Highway Projects.

(a) What are the minimum eligibility requirements for MARAD to 
recommend a Marine Highway Project for the Secretary to designate?

    (1) MARAD may recommend only those Marine Highway Projects that 
will use U.S. documented vessels and mitigate landside congestion or 
promotes short sea transportation.
    (2) MARAD may recommend only those Marine Highway Projects that:
    (i) Involve the carriage of cargo in Short Sea Transportation as 
defined in subsection 393.1(k);
    (ii) Involve new or expand existing services for the carriage of 
cargo; and,
    (iii) Are on a designated Marine Highway Route.
    (3) Proposed Route Designations are accepted at any time, and may 
be submitted together with the proposed Project Designation.
    (4) Successful MARAD Project sponsors must demonstrate a direct 
connection between a proposed Marine Highway Project and the carriage 
of cargo through ports on Designated Marine Highway Routes.

(b) When does the Program Office accept Marine Highway Project 
designation applications?

    (1) The Administrator will announce by notice in the Federal 
Register and on MARAD's AMHP Web site open season periods to allow 
Project Sponsors opportunities to submit Marine Highway Project 
designation applications.
    (2) [Reserved].

(c) What should Project Applicants include when preparing a Marine 
Highway Project designation application?

    (1) The market or customer base to be served by the service and the 
service's value proposition to customers. This includes--
    (i) A description of how the market is currently served by 
transportation options;
    (ii) Identities of shippers that have indicated an interest in, and 
level of commitment to, the proposed service;
    (iii) Specific commodities, markets, and shippers the Project is 
expected to attract;
    (iv) Extent to which interested entities have been educated about 
the Project and expressed support, and,
    (v) A marketing strategy for the project if one exists.
    (2) Operational Framework. A description of the proposed 
operational framework of the project including origin/destination 
pairs, transit times, vessel types, and service frequency;
    (3) The cost model for the proposed service. The cost model should 
be broken down by container, trailer, or other freight unit, including 
loading and discharge costs, vessel operating costs, drayage costs, and 
other ancillary costs. Provide a comparison cost model outlining the 
current costs for transportation using landside mode (truck and rail) 
alternatives for the identified market that the proposed project will 
serve. Provide the project's financial plan and provide projected 
revenues and expenses. Include labor and operating costs, drayage, 
fixed and recurring infrastructure and maintenance costs, vessel or 
equipment acquisition or construction costs, etc. Include any 
anticipated changes in local or regional short sea transportation, 
policy or regulations, ports, industry, or other developments affecting 
the project. In the event that public sector financial support is being 
sought, describe the amount, form and duration of public investment 
required. Applicants may email [email protected] to request a sample cost 
model.
    (4) An overall quantification of the net public benefits estimated 
to be gained through the successful initiation of the Marine Highway 
Project, including highway miles saved, road maintenance savings, air 
emissions savings, and safety and resiliency impacts.
    (5) Marine Highway Route(s). Identify the designated Marine Highway 
Routes the Project will utilize.
    (6) Organization. Provide the organizational structure of the 
proposed project, including an outline of the business affiliations, 
environmental, non-profit organizations and governmental or private 
sector stakeholders.
    (7) Partnerships:--(i) Private sector partners. Identify private 
sector partners and describe their levels of commitment to the proposed 
service Private sector partners can include terminals, vessel 
operators, shipyards, shippers, trucking companies, railroads, third-
party logistics providers, shipping lines, labor, workforce and other 
entities deemed appropriate by the Secretary.
    (ii) Public sector partners. Identify State Departments of 
Transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, municipalities and 
other governmental entities, including tribal entities, that Project 
Sponsors have engaged and the extent to which they support the service. 
Include any affiliations with environmental groups or civic 
associations.
    (iii) Documentation. Provide documents affirming commitment or 
support from entities involved in the project.

[[Page 3256]]

    (8) Public benefits. These measures reflect current law and are 
consistent with USDOT's Strategic Goals. Project Applicants should 
organize external net cost savings and public benefits of the Project 
based on the following six categories:
    (i) Emissions benefits. Address any net savings, in quantifiable 
terms, now and in the future, over current emissions practices, 
including greenhouse gas emissions, criteria air pollutants or other 
environmental benefits the project offers.
    (ii) Energy savings. Provide an analysis of potential net 
reductions in energy consumption, in quantifiable terms, now and in the 
future, over the current practice.
    (iii) Landside transportation infrastructure maintenance savings. 
To the extent the data is available indicate, in dollars per year, the 
projected net savings of public funds that would result in road or 
railroad maintenance or repair, including pavement, bridges, tunnels or 
related transportation infrastructure from a proposed project. Include 
the impacts of accelerated infrastructure deterioration caused by 
vehicles currently using the route, especially in cases of oversize or 
overweight vehicles. This information applies only to projects for a 
marine highway service where a landside alternative exists.
    (iv) Economic competitiveness. To the extent the data is available 
describe how the project will measurably result in transportation 
efficiency gains for the U.S. public. For purposes of aligning a 
project with this outcome, applicants should provide evidence of how 
improvements in transportation outcomes (such as time savings, 
operating cost savings, and increased utilization of assets) translate 
into long-term economic productivity benefits.
    (v) Safety improvements. Describe, in measurable terms, the 
projected safety improvements that would result from the proposed 
operation.
    (vi) System resiliency and redundancy. To the extent data is 
available describe, if applicable, how a proposed Marine Highway 
Project offers a resilient route or service that can benefit the 
public. Where land transportation routes serving a locale or region are 
limited, describe how a proposed project offers an alternative and the 
benefit this could offer when other routes are interrupted as a result 
of natural or man-made incidents.
    (9) Proposed Project Timeline. Include a proposed project timeline 
with estimated start dates and key milestones. If applicable, include 
the point in the timeline at which the enterprise is anticipated to 
attain self-sufficiency.
    (10) Support and Investment Required. Describe any known or 
anticipated obstacles to either implementation or long-term success of 
the project. Include any strategies, either in place or proposed, to 
mitigate impediments. Identify specific infrastructure gaps such as 
docks, cranes, ramps, etc. that will need to be addressed in order for 
the project to become economically viable. Include estimates for the 
required investments needed to address the infrastructure gaps.
    (11) Environmental Considerations. Applicants must provide all 
information necessary to assist MARAD's environmental analysis of the 
propose project, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and other environmental 
requirements.

(e) How will the Program Office evaluate and recommend Marine Highway 
Project applications for designation?

    (1) The Program Office will evaluate and recommend for designation 
by the Secretary those Projects based on an analysis and technical 
review of the information provided by the Project Applicant. MARAD will 
recommend Projects that operate on a designated Marine Highway Route, 
receive a favorable technical review, and meet other criteria described 
in this part, for designation by the Secretary.
    (2) The Program Office may consider additional factors and may 
request supplemental information during the review process. USDOT will 
notify Project Applicants as to the status of their application in 
writing once the Secretary makes a determination.

(f) How will MARAD support designated America's Marine Highway 
Projects?

    (1) Upon designation as a Marine Highway Project, the Department 
Program Office will coordinate with the Project Applicants to identify 
the most appropriate departmental actions to support the project. USDOT 
support could include any of the following, as appropriate and subject 
to agency resources:
    (i) Promote the service with appropriate governmental, regional, 
State, local or tribal government transportation planners, private 
sector entities or other decision makers to the extent permitted by 
law.
    (ii) Coordinate with ports, State Departments of Transportation, 
metropolitan planning organizations, localities, other public agencies 
and the private sector to support the designated service. Efforts can 
be aimed at identifying resources, obtaining access to land or 
terminals, developing landside facilities and infrastructure, and 
working with Federal, regional, State, local or Tribal governmental 
entities to remove barriers to success.
    (iii) Pursue commitments from Federal entities to transport 
Federally owned or generated cargo using the services of the designated 
project, when practical or available.
    (iv) In cases where transportation infrastructure is needed, 
Project Applicants may request to be included on the Secretary's list 
of high-priority transportation infrastructure projects under EO 13274, 
``Environmental Stewardship and Transportation Infrastructure Project 
Review.''
    (v) Assist with developing individual performance measures for 
Marine Highway Projects.
    (vi) Work with Federal entities and regional, State, local and 
tribal governments to include designated Projects in transportation 
planning.
    (vii) Coordinate with public and private entities to resolve 
impediments to the success of Marine Highway Projects.
    (viii) Conduct research on issues specific to Marine Highway 
Projects.
    (ix) Advise Route Sponsors on the availability of various Federal 
funding mechanisms to support the Projects.
    (x) Maintain liaison with Sponsors and representatives of 
designated Projects to provide ongoing support and identify lessons 
learned and best practices for other projects and the overall Marine 
Highway program.
    (2) [Reserved].

(g) How will the Department protect confidential information?

    (1) If your application, including attachments, includes 
information that you consider to be a trade secret or confidential 
commercial or financial information, or otherwise exempt from 
disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552), as 
implemented by the Department at 49 CFR part 7, you may assert a claim 
of confidentiality.
    (2) What should I do if I believe my project designation 
application contains confidential or business sensitive information?
    (i) Note on the front cover that the submission ``Contains 
Confidential Business Information (CBI);''
    (ii) Mark each affected page ``CBI;'' and
    (iii) Clearly highlight or otherwise denote the CBI portions. The 
USDOT protects such information from

[[Page 3257]]

disclosure to the extent allowed under applicable law.
    (3) What will happen if information related to my project 
designation application is the subject of a request under the Freedom 
of Information Act (FOIA)? We will apply the procedures contained in 49 
CFR part 7 to a request from non-Federal third-parties for information 
related to documents you submit under this part. We will consider your 
claim of confidentiality at the time someone requests the information 
under FOIA. Only information that is ultimately determined to be 
confidential under that procedure will be exempt from disclosure under 
FOIA.

(h) Is there a specific format required for project designation 
applications and attached documents?

    (1) When responding to specific solicitations for Marine Highway 
Projects by the Program Office, applicants should include all of the 
information requested by paragraph (c) above organized in a manner 
consistent with the elements set forth in that section. The Program 
Office reserves the right to ask any applicant to supplement the data 
in its application, but expects applications to be complete upon 
submission. The narrative portion of an application should not exceed 
20 pages in length. Documentation supporting the assertions made in the 
narrative portion may also be provided in the form of appendices, but 
limited to relevant information. Applications may be submitted 
electronically via the Federal Register (http://www.regulations.gov). 
Applications submitted in writing must include the original and three 
copies and must be on 8.5'' x 11'' single spaced paper, excluding maps, 
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) representations, etc.
    (2) In the event that the sponsor of a Marine Highway Project that 
has already been designated by the Secretary seeks a modification to 
the designation because of a change in project scope, an expansion of 
the project, or other significant change to the project, the project 
applicant should request the change in writing to the Secretary via the 
Maritime Administrator. The request must contain any changed or new 
information that is relevant to the project.

(i) What does the Program Office do to ensure designated projects are 
developing properly?

    (1) Once designated projects enter the operational phase (either 
start of a new service, or expansion of existing service), the Program 
Office will evaluate them regularly to determine if the project is 
likely to achieve its objectives.
    (2) Overall project performance will be assessed according to three 
categories-exceeds, meets, or does not meet original projections in 
each of the three areas defined below:
    (i) Public benefit. Does the project meet the stated goals in 
shifting specific numbers of vehicles (number of trucks, rail cars or 
automobiles) off the designated landside routes? The Program Office 
will assume other public benefits, including energy savings, reduced 
emissions, and safety improvements to be a direct derivative of either 
numbers of vehicles reduced, or vehicle/ton miles avoided, unless 
specific factors change (such as a change in vessel fuel or emissions).
    (ii) Public cost. Is the overall cost to the Federal Government (if 
any) on track with estimates at the time of designation? The overall 
cost to the Federal Government represents the amount of Federal 
investment (i.e., direct funding, loan guarantees or similar 
mechanisms) reduced by the offsetting savings the project represents 
(road/bridge wear and tear avoided, infrastructure construction or 
expansion deferred).
    (iii) Timeliness factor. Is the project on track for the point at 
which the enterprise is projected to attain self-sufficiency? For 
example, if the project was anticipated to attain self-sufficiency 
after 36 months of operation, is it on track at the point of evaluation 
to meet that objective? This can be determined by assessing revenues, 
cargo and passenger trends, expenses and other factors established in 
the application review process.

(j) Can a project designation expire or be terminated?

    (1) Project Designations are effective for a period of five years, 
or until the date the project is completed, or MARAD cancels the 
designation. Project Designation will expire after three years of 
inactivity.
    (2) Project Sponsors wishing to extend a Project Designation must 
submit an updated application no later than six months before the five-
year designation period ends. Applicants who no longer wish to maintain 
project designation may submit a request to the Secretary to revoke 
their designation.

Subpart C--Department of Transportation Efforts to Foster and 
Support America's Marine Highways


Sec.  393.4  DOT Support for Planning Activities.

(a) How does DOT provide support?

    (1) The Program Office engages in coordination and Planning 
Activities with Federal, State, local and tribal governments and 
planning and private entities organizations to encourage the use of 
designated Marine Highway Routes and Projects. These activities 
include:
    (i) Works with these entities to assess plans and develop 
strategies, where appropriate, to incorporate Marine Highway 
transportation and other short sea transportation solutions to their 
statewide and metropolitan transportation plans, including the 
Statewide Transportation Improvement Programs and State Freight Plans.
    (ii) Facilitates groups of States and multi-State transportation 
entities to determine how Marine Highway transportation can address 
port congestion, traffic delays, bottlenecks, and other interstate 
transportation challenges to their mutual benefit.
    (iii) Identifies other Federal agencies that have jurisdiction over 
services, or which currently provide funding for components of 
services, in order to determine which agencies should be consulted and 
assist in the coordination process.
    (iv) Organizes the Department's modal administrations, including 
Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Saint Lawrence Seaway 
Development Corporation, and Federal Transit Administration, as 
appropriate, for support and to evaluate costs and benefits of proposed 
Marine Highway Routes and Projects.


Sec.  393.5  DOT Support for Marine Highway-Related Research.

(a) How does DOT support research?

    (1) The Program Office works in consultation with public and 
private entities as appropriate, within the limits of available 
resources, to identify impediments, develop incentives, and conduct 
innovative research, in support of the America's Marine Highway Program 
or in direct support of specific designated Marine Highway Routes and 
Projects. The primary objectives of selected research projects are to:
    (i) Identify markets, cargoes, and service parameters that could 
facilitate the development of new or expanded Marine Highway Services.

[[Page 3258]]

    (ii) Identify existing or emerging technology, vessel design, 
infrastructure designs, and other improvements that would reduce 
emissions, increase fuel economy, and lower costs of Marine Highway 
transportation and increase the efficiency of intermodal transfers.
    (iii) Identify impediments to the establishment of Marine Highway 
services.
    (iv) Identify incentives to increase the use and efficiency of 
Marine Highway services.
    (b) The Secretary, in consultation with the Administrator of the 
Environmental Protection Agency, may conduct research on short sea 
transportation regarding:
    (1) The environmental and transportation benefits to be derived 
from short sea transportation alternatives for other forms of 
transportation;
    (2) Technology, vessel design, and other improvements that would 
reduce emissions, increase fuel economy, and lower costs of short sea 
transportation and increase the efficiency of intermodal transfers; and
    (3) Solutions to impediments to short sea transportation projects 
designated.


Sec.  393.6  America's Marine Highway Program Project Grants.

(a) How does MARAD administer the AMHP grant program?

    (1) The Associate Administrator for Intermodal Systems Development 
manages the program under the guidance and the immediate administrative 
direction of the Maritime Administrator.
    (2) MARAD establishes grant program priorities as reflected in its 
grant opportunity announcements and, from time-to-time, issues 
clarifying guidance documents through the MARAD Web site and the 
Federal Register.
    (3) The Administrator makes funding recommendations to the 
Secretary, who has the authority to award grants.

(b) How does MARAD make grant opportunities known?

    (1) MARAD determines which grant opportunities it will offer, and 
establishes application deadlines, and programmatic requirements when 
grant funds become available to the AMHP.
    (2) The MARAD staff prepares Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) 
announcements consisting of all information necessary to apply for each 
grant and publishes the announcement in the Federal Register and on 
http://grants.gov">grants.gov.
    (3) The MARAD staff publishes notice of each announcement on http://grants.gov, a Federal government Web site widely available to the 
public.

(c) How may an applicant apply for an AMHP grant?

    (1) Applicants may apply for a grant using http://grants.gov">grants.gov or, in 
connection with a Federal Register announcement, by submitting the 
necessary information to the AMHP Office in electronic form.
    (2) [Reserved].

(Authority: Pub. L. 110-140, title XI, subtitle C sections 1121-
1123, 121 Stat. 1494; Pub. L. 112-213, title IV, section 405, 126 
Stat. 1541; 49 CFR 1.92 and 1.93(a), 46 U.S.C. 55601, 55604, 55605)
* * * * *

    By Order of the Maritime Administrator.
T. Mitchell Hudson, Jr.,
Secretary, Maritime Administration.
[FR Doc. 2017-00249 Filed 1-10-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-81-P