Boating Infrastructure Grants Awarded

BoatU.S. Magazine - March 2003 - page 5

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded $3.9 million in boaters' gas tax monies in January to build berthing and mooring facilities for transient boaters in six states. The nine projects selected conclude the last of three rounds of Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) funding under the current congressional appropriation from the Wallop/Breaux Trust Fund.

Sixty projects submitted by 21 states competed for this year's funding, requesting nearly $29 million to improve access to shoreside facilities, attractions and services for the traveling boater. To date, the BIG program has funded 48 transient projects in 13 states.

"There is a huge demand for transient facilities for cruising boaters across the country and this is a great example of boaters paying their own way through their fuel taxes for facilities which not only benefit their recreation, but waterfront communities and local economies as well," noted BoatU.S. Government Affairs Director Michael G. Sciulla who helped shepherd the BIG program through Congress in 1998.

"The success of the program to date speaks for itself and we're going to work hard to ensure Congress reauthorizes the BIG program for six additional years."

BIG funding went for the first time to New Jersey for a major transient marina development at Belmar on the Atlantic coast and to New York for additional docks and a mooring field at the town of Nyack on the Hudson River.

On the West Coast, the Port of Bremerton, WA, (shown at left) will use the BIG funding to match state and local allocations to build a new breakwater, upgrade utilities and add transient slips near Seattle. On the Gulf Coast, a BIG grant to Louisiana will complete work on facilities at Bucktown Harbor Marina, within a short drive of New Orleans.

Virginia will use its BIG funding for two projects on the Potomac River and one on the Chesapeake Bay while South Carolina will complete work on two transient facilities, one to make downtown Charleston more accessible to boaters using the Intracoastal Waterway and the other in Georgetown on the ICW itself.