Pennsylvania Seeks Proposals for Boating Infrastructure Grants to Boost Local Economies

MotorboatPhoto by Sindre Fs on Pexels.com

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has announced a call for proposals from parties interested in obtaining funding through the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program. This federal grant program, administered in Pennsylvania by the PFBC in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, aims to enhance recreational boating facilities for motorboats 26 feet and longer.

The deadline for submitting proposals is July 31, 2024.

BIG grants are vital for local communities. They provide safe docking options for traveling boaters while offering easy access to towns and waterfronts. Grants can be awarded to both public and private operators of boating facilities open to the public, including municipal agencies, state agencies, and other government entities.

Eligible activities for these grants include the construction, renovation, and maintenance of transient tie-up facilities. Boating infrastructure encompasses transient slips, day docks, floating docks, fixed piers, navigational aids, and dockside utilities like electric, water, and pumpout stations. These projects serve as stopover points for non-trailerable recreational vessels, enhancing the boating experience and supporting local tourism.

The BIG program will reimburse recipients for up to 75 percent of the costs related to project design, engineering, development, expansion, and major rehabilitation. Successful applicants must provide at least 25 percent of the project cost and agree to keep the facility open to the public for its useful life. The program operates on a reimbursable basis, meaning funds are disbursed only after project expenditures are certified by the sponsor.

The origins of the BIG program trace back to the Sportfishing and Boating Partnership Act of 1998. It is funded by excise taxes on motorboat fuel, making it a sustainable source of financial support for boating infrastructure.

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Secretary of PFBC Mark Morrison emphasized the importance of this initiative. “These grants are economic engines for local communities,” he said. “They benefit traveling boaters by offering safe overnight dockage and easy access to towns and waterfronts.”

For more information about the Boating Infrastructure Grant program, visit the PFBC website.

Enhancing Pennsylvania’s Waterways: The Boating Infrastructure Boost

Improving boating infrastructure holds significant implications. For one, it boosts local economies by attracting more visitors. Boaters who dock in these enhanced facilities are likely to spend money in nearby towns, benefiting restaurants, shops, and other local businesses. This influx of visitors can lead to increased employment opportunities and greater overall economic activity.

Moreover, enhanced boating infrastructure contributes to safer and more enjoyable boating experiences. By providing reliable and well-maintained docking options, the program helps prevent accidents and ensures that boaters have necessary amenities like water and electricity. This focus on safety and convenience makes Pennsylvania’s waterways more attractive to recreational boaters from within the state and beyond.

Environmental considerations also play a role. Properly designed and maintained boating facilities can mitigate environmental impacts by providing designated areas for waste disposal and reducing the likelihood of boats anchoring in sensitive areas. This balance between recreation and conservation is crucial for sustaining Pennsylvania’s natural beauty and biodiversity.

In conclusion, the Boating Infrastructure Grant program represents a strategic investment in both the community and the environment. By enhancing boating facilities, the program not only supports economic growth but also promotes safe and sustainable use of Pennsylvania’s waterways. As the PFBC continues to invite proposals, the promise of improved infrastructure brings hope for vibrant local economies and enriched boating experiences across the state.

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