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30 December 2008

[Federal Register: December 30, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 250)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 79665-79666]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



Maritime Administration

46 CFR Part 393

[Docket No. MARAD-2008-0096]
RIN 2133-AB70

America's Marine Highway Program: Stay of Effectiveness

AGENCY: Maritime Administration, DOT.

[[Page 79666]]

ACTION: Interim Final Rule: Stay of effectiveness.


SUMMARY: On October 9, 2008, this rulemaking was initially published. 
This rulemaking requires congressional review. Therefore, the Maritime 
Administration must stay the effectiveness of the regulations. The stay 
does not otherwise change the October 9, 2008, rulemaking specifically 
soliciting Marine Highway Corridor Recommendations and public comment 
on the proposed America's Marine Highways Program.

DATES: Effective December 30, 2008, 46 CFR part 393 is stayed until 
January 5, 2009.
    Comment Date: At this time, the Maritime Administration is 
accepting recommendations on Marine Highway Corridors and public 
comment on the proposed America's Marine Highway program. We will be 
soliciting applications for specific Marine Highway Projects once a 
final rule has been issued. Comments are due on or before February 6, 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments [identified by DOT Docket Number 
MARAD-2008-0096] by any of the following methods:
     Web Site: Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments on the electronic docket site.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Room PL-401, Washington, 
DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery: Room PL-401 of the Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http:// Follow the online instructions for submitting 
    Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and 
docket number for this rulemaking. Note that all comments received will 
be posted without change to including any 
personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading under 
Regulatory Notices.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to at any time or to 
Room PL-401 of the Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Gordon, Office of Intermodal 
System Development, Marine Highways and Passenger Services, at (202) 
366-5468, via e-mail at, or by writing to the 
Office of Marine Highways and Passenger Services, MAR-520, Suite W21-
315, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.



    The rulemaking adding 46 CFR part 393 was published on October 9, 
2008 (73 FR 59530). Congestion is one of the single largest threats to 
America's economic prosperity and way of life. Overall, the Department 
of Transportation estimates that congestion on our roads, bridges, 
railways, and in certain ports costs the United States as much as $200 
billion a year and this figure will continue to grow. In addition to 
significant existing congestion, an increasing growth in trade will 
place even more demands on our capability to move freight and people 
through an already strained transportation network.
    Over the next 15 years, experts project that cargoes moving through 
our ports will nearly double. Federal Highway Administration, ``The 
Freight Story: A National Perspective on Enhancing Freight 
Transportation''. Most of this additional cargo will ultimately move 
along our surface transportation corridors, many of which are already 
at or beyond capacity. Since 92 percent of all domestic freight 
currently moves on road and rail infrastructure, the implications of 
this growth are significant. U.S. Department of Transportation 
``Freight Analysis Framework''.
    The challenge we face is to use all transportation modes available 
to address the looming crisis. America's Marine Highway can be a viable 
alternative transportation mode. Expanding the Marine Highway can be 
cost effective and will require less new infrastructure than surface 
transportation alternatives, represents significant fuel savings, while 
offering a resilient and redundant means of transportation. The Marine 
Highway, consisting of more than 25,000 miles of inland, intracoastal, 
and coastal waterways, already transports about 1 billion tons of 
domestic cargo annually, and has considerable room to grow. U.S. Army 
Corps of Engineers, ``Waterborne Commerce of the United States'' 
(2005). The following is an example of the benefit the Marine Highway 
can offer. An East Coast container-on-barge operation that currently 
runs between Baltimore, MD, and Norfolk, VA, relieves the busy I-95 and 
I-64 corridors of almost 2,000 trucks every week. That is equal to 3 
lanes of bumper-to-bumper trucks eight miles long for about \1/8\ the 
amount of fuel. Transporting freight by water has traditionally been 
used for the movement of bulk commodities such as coal, petroleum, 
grain, and lumber, yet growing freight congestion on certain highway 
Corridors, combined with innovative approaches, could encourage 
shippers to consider marine transportation for container cargo.
    In many cases, the Marine Highway runs parallel to some of the most 
congested highway Corridors in the country. On September 10, 2007, the 
Department of Transportation announced six interstate routes as 
Corridors of the Future: I-95 from Florida to the Canadian border; I-70 
in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio; I-15 in Arizona, Utah, 
Nevada, and California; I-5 in California, Oregon, and Washington, I-10 
from California to Florida, and I-69 from Michigan to Texas. The 
designation of waterways along some of these and other clogged roadways 
and rail routes as Marine Highway Corridors could reduce congestion, 
pollution, and energy usage, increase freight system reliability, and 
improve the life of citizens who live in proximity to the highway.
    The Secretary, in consultation with the EPA, will submit a Report 
to Congress by December 19, 2008. The report will include a description 
of the activities conducted under the program, and any recommendations 
for further legislative or administrative action that the Secretary of 
Transportation considers appropriate. For complete background and 
regulatory analysis, see the original document published October 9, 
2008 (73 FR 59530).

List of Subjects in 46 CFR Part 393

    Marine highway, Short sea transportation, Vessels.

Accordingly, the Maritime Administration amends 46 CFR part 393 as 
1. The authority citation for part 393 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, 
sections 1121, 1122, and 1123 of Public Law 110-140, approved 
December 19, 2007 (121 Stat. 1492).


2. Effective December 30, 2008, part 393 is stayed until January 5, 

    By order of the Secretary.

    Dated: December 22, 2008.
Leonard Sutter,
Secretary, Maritime Administration.
[FR Doc. E8-30992 Filed 12-29-08; 8:45 am]