Hogan: Maryland investing $13.5 million to enhance waterways

(The Center Square) – While taking a tour of the Eastern Shore, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan touted new investments in the state’s waterways.

The governor announced that 45 applicants will receive a portion of the $13.5 million that will be invested through Waterway Improvement Fund Grants. The grants are designed to benefit boating access, facilities, and navigation of the state’s waters.

Gov. Larry Hogan, center, announced Maryland is investing $13.5 million in its waterways.

Credit: Gov. Larry Hogan

“Maryland’s Waterway Improvement Fund has been an extremely valuable program for 56 years,” Maryland Secretary of Natural Resources Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio said in a news release. “Without it, we would not be able to invest in these essential boating projects in partnership with our counties, waterfront communities, and waterway users.”

According to the release, the fund puts money toward building and maintenance efforts at more than 400 public boating facilities and publicly navigated channels in 250 places, in addition to purchasing icebreaking and rescue boats.

Projects, according to the release, include new public boating access, amenities and facilities, dredging waterways, providing for emergency boats and equipment for first responders, and other infrastructure and efforts.

The state’s Department of Natural Resources, according to the release, will administer the program, including federal grant programs that enhance boating efforts in the state.

This afternoon we toured @MarylandDNR’s “Floating Islands” project—artificial islands made to imitate bird habitats for research and monitoring purposes in order to preserve three of Maryland’s state endangered colonial nesting waterbirds. pic.twitter.com/sTNIEbxIeD

— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) June 13, 2022

The Waterway Improvement Fund, according to the release, works to give monetary support to community governments, along with the department, and also to federal agencies with grants or loans for capital boating projects.

The fund, which was established in 1966, according to the release, was developed especially for recreational and commercial projects on the state’s waterways, and revenues for the fund are culled from the 5% excise tax assessed to the state when a boat is purchased and titled.

According to the release, the fund has garnered more than $300 million that was designated to more than 4,500 projects at more than 300 boating access points.