Portion of State Motor Fuel Tax to Fund Waterway Improvement Projects
DNR receives $1.5 million to improve boating infrastructure on State waters
From a new boat ramp in Anne Arundel County to replacement slips at Deal Island Harbor, two dozen waterway improvement projects across the State are getting an infusion of $1.5 million thanks to a formula change in the State Motor Fuel Tax disbursement.
Last session, the General Assembly approved, and Governor Martin O’Malley signed, legislation that reinstated a small portion of the fuel tax to the Waterway Improvement Fund. That contribution to the fund, which was at .3 percent, was eliminated six years ago.
The new law, which took effect July 1, not only reinstates the contribution, it also increases it to .5 percent. The money will allow DNR’s Boating Services to provide grants to revitalize existing facilities and create new opportunities for the boating public.
“We are very pleased to be able to provide new and improved facilities to our boating public,” said Mark O’Malley, the director of Boating Services. “Our State has wonderful opportunities for boaters and their families to enjoy the Chesapeake Bay and our rivers. This money will help us create and enhance facilities in many communities that otherwise would have gone unfunded.”
At Fort Smallwood Park in Anne Arundel County, Waterway Improvement funding is being used to help pay for the construction of a two-lane boat ramp. The $2 million project, which also includes federal and county financial funding, will include dredging, breakwaters, a parking lot and navigation lights.
Fort Washington Marina in Prince George’s County is using a grant to assist in the demolition and replacement of floating docks while the Deal Island Harbor in Somerset County will be able replace the existing bulkhead and boat slips.
In all, 15 counties were awarded grants.
The Waterway Improvement Fund was created in 1966 by the General Assembly to support the development, use and enjoyment of all State waters for the benefit of the general boating public. Over the past four decades, the fund has paid for more than 4,500 grant projects valued at $300 million that have been used for developing and maintaining more than 400 public boating access sites throughout the State.