About the M-95 Marine Highway Corridor
The Eastern Transportation Coalition’s waterside system was selected as a Marine Highway Corridor under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT’s) America’s Marine Highway Program, an initiative to move more cargo on the water rather than on crowded highways. As the sponsor of the M-95 Marine Highway Corridor, the Eastern Transportation Coalition will be assisted by the USDOT Maritime Administration in developing transportation services and with identifying potential freight and passenger markets. The 1,925 mile-long I-95 Corridor is the major North-South landside freight corridor on the East Coast. The USDOT identified more than a dozen major freight truck bottlenecks along this route, along with significant critical rail congestion along the upper portions. Projections of future freight volumes indicate increasing freight congestion challenges, with limited opportunity to increase landside capacity. The Corridor is home to 15 of the largest 50 marine ports in the United States (as ranked by total throughput). These ports handle approximately 582 million short tons of cargo, or 26 percent of the national total. Much of this freight begins or ends its journeys with an I-95 transit. Fortunately, the East coast also possesses a host of waterways, bays, rivers, and the Atlantic coast itself. The Corridor is also lined with less congested, smaller niche ports that could play a vital part in the developing marine highway service network. While several Marine Highway operations already serve this corridor, there is significant opportunity for expansion to help address growing congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve energy, and lower landside infrastructure maintenance costs.
The Eastern Transportation Coalition’s, on behalf of its member and affiliate agencies, submitted an application for designation of waterways/waterside system as a Marine Highway Corridor under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT’s) “America’s Marine Highway Program”. As a result of the Coalition’s submission, a designation was successfully received under the “America’s Marine Highway Program” for the “M-95” Corridor , a series of waterways/crossings/connections within the Coalition’s region. As the sponsor of the “M-95” Marine Highway Corridor, the Eastern Transportation Coalition works as may be necessary with Ports, Departments of Transportation, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and the USDOT Maritime Administration (MARAD) in various activities to further advance the utilization of the coastal and inland waterways within the Coalition region and join in research as may be applicable, such as the East Coast Marine Highway Initiative, to identify potential freight and passenger markets where water could serve as a transportation mode to address mobility needs.
In addition to the M-95 Marine Highway Corridor designation, several projects and initiatives in the I-95 Corridor were selected to be eligible for federal assistance under the Program. Projects and Initiatives selected in the I-95 Corridor include:
- Cross Sound Enhancements Project (Connecticut DOT)
- New England Marine Highway Expansion Project (Maine DOT)
- Cross Gulf Container Expansion Project (Ports of Manatee, FL, and Brownsville, TX)
- Gulf Atlantic Marine Highway Project (South Carolina State Ports Authority and Port of Galveston, TX)
- Trans-Hudson Rail Service Project (Port Authority of New York & New Jersey)
- James River Container Expansion Project (Virginia Port Authority)
- Hudson River Food Corridor Initiative (New York City Soil & Water Conservation District)
- New Jersey Marine Highway Initiative (New Jersey DOT)
- East Coast Marine Highway Initiative (Ports of New Bedford, MA, Baltimore, MD, and Canaveral, FL)
M-95 Marine Highway Proposal
The Port of New Bedford Harbor Development Commission released the East Coast Marine Highway Initiative M-95 Study, a comprehensive look into the development of a business case for marine highway services on the East Coast. The study was led by a partnership among the Port of New Bedford, Massachusetts; the Port of Baltimore, Maryland; Port Canaveral, Florida; New Jersey Department of Transportation; and the Eastern Transportation Coalition.
East Coast Marine Highway Initiative M-95 Study