To shift port containers off congested highways and reduce pollution, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg backs an increase in federal funding for ‘Marine Highway’ vessels operating on the nation’s waterways. He voiced this view at a media briefing on November 16 at the Port of Los Angeles, which has been heavily congested by containerships for months.
Referring to the Biden administration’s new infrastructure legislation, Mr. Buttigieg said: “Yes, we support it and we’re doing it thanks to this legislation. The Marine Highway program is something I look forward to communicating more to the public about because it is not clearly understood.”
Mr. Buttigieg affirmed the potential was “huge” for moving truck and containerloads off highways and onto waterways via coastal vessels and tug/barges. “If you think about the potential from a pollution perspective and moving more cargo by the waterways … inland, the potential is huge.”
He noted that shipping containers by barge and coastal ships in the United States was underutilized. “In the next 45 days, as per the Biden-Harris Action Plan, we will be announcing the next round of grants, which should be for around $13 million and the infrastructure bill provides an additional $25 million.”