46 U.S. Code § 55601. Short sea transportation program

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(a) Establishment.—
The Secretary of Transportation shall establish a short sea transportation program and designate short sea transportation projects to be conducted under the program to mitigate landside congestion or to promote short sea transportation.
(b) Program Elements.—The program shall encourage the use of short sea transportation through the development and expansion of—
documented vessels;
shipper utilization;
port and landside infrastructure; and
marine transportation strategies by State and local governments.
(c) Short Sea Transportation Routes.—
The Secretary shall designate short sea transportation routes as extensions of the surface transportation system to focus public and private efforts to use the waterways to relieve landside congestion along coastal corridors or to promote short sea transportation. The Secretary may collect and disseminate data for the designation and delineation of short sea transportation routes.
(d) Project Designation.—The Secretary may designate a project to be a short sea transportation project if the Secretary determines that the project uses documented vessels and—
mitigates landside congestion; or
promotes short sea transportation.
(e) Elements of Program.—For a short sea transportation project designated under this section, the Secretary may—
promote the development of short sea transportation services;
coordinate, with ports, State departments of transportation, localities, other public agencies, and the private sector and on the development of landside facilities and infrastructure to support short sea transportation services; and
develop performance measures for the short sea transportation program.
(f) Multistate, State and Regional Transportation Planning.—The Secretary, in consultation with Federal entities and State and local governments, may develop strategies to encourage the use of short sea transportation for transportation of passengers and cargo. The Secretary may—
assess the extent to which States and local governments include short sea transportation and other marine transportation solutions in their transportation planning;
encourage State departments of transportation to develop strategies, where appropriate, to incorporate short sea transportation, ferries, and other marine transportation solutions for regional and interstate transport of freight and passengers in their transportation planning; and
encourage groups of States and multi-State transportation entities to determine how short sea transportation can address congestion, bottlenecks, and other interstate transportation challenges.
(g) Grants.—
(1) In general.—
The Secretary shall establish and implement a short sea transportation grant program to implement projects or components of a project designated under subsection (d).
(2) Applications.—In order to receive a grant under the program, an applicant shall—
submit an application to the Secretary, in such form and manner, at such time, and containing such information as the Secretary may require; and
(B) demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Secretary that—
the project is financially viable;
the funds received will be spent efficiently and effectively; and
a market exists for the services of the proposed project as evidenced by contracts or written statements of intent from potential customers.
(3) Non-federal share.—
An applicant shall provide at least 20 percent of the project costs from non-Federal sources. In awarding grants under the program, the Secretary shall give a preference to those projects or components that present the most financially viable transportation services and require the lowest percentage Federal share of the costs.

2012—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 112–213, § 405(a)(1), substituted “landside congestion or to promote short sea transportation.” for “landside congestion.”

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 112–213, § 405(a)(2), substituted “coastal corridors or to promote short sea transportation” for “coastal corridors”.

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 112–213, § 405(a)(3), substituted “that the project uses documented vessels and—” for “that the project may—” in introductory provisions, added pars. (1) and (2), and struck out former pars. (1) and (2) which read as follows:

“(1) offer a waterborne alternative to available landside transportation services using documented vessels; and

“(2) provide transportation services for passengers or freight (or both) that may reduce congestion on landside infrastructure using documented vessels.”

Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 112–213, § 405(a)(4), substituted “may” for “shall” in two places in introductory provisions.

2009—Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 111–84 added subsec. (g).

Effective Date

Section effective 1 day after Dec. 19, 2007, see section 1601 of Pub. L. 110–140, set out as a note under section 1824 of Title 2, The Congress.


Pub. L. 110–140, title XI, § 1121(c), Dec. 19, 2007, 121 Stat. 1762, provided that:

“(1) Interim regulations.—
Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act [Dec. 19, 2007], the Secretary of Transportation shall issue temporary regulations to implement the program under this section. Subchapter II of chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code, does not apply to a temporary regulation issued under this paragraph or to an amendment to such a temporary regulation.
“(2) Final regulations.—
Not later than October 1, 2008, the Secretary of Transportation shall issue final regulations to implement the program under this section.”