Boating industry celebrates passage of bipartisan infrastructure bill

Many in the the recreational boating industry are applauding the passage of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – commonly referred to as the bipartisan infrastructure framework (BIF) – which includes funding for recreation-based ports and waterways, funding for climate resiliency measures, and reauthorizes the $750 million Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund.

“The passage of this historic infrastructure bill shows there is strong, bipartisan support for building America back better in Washington and will go a long way in funding sustainable, climate resilient solutions to better protect and prepare the great outdoors for generations to come. As more Americans than ever are discovering the benefits of the outdoors – including the many benefits of time spent boating and fishing – this long-awaited achievement comes at an opportune time for the recreational boating industry,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, President of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). “While we are grateful that several of our industry’s top priorities are accounted for in this bill, more work is required to ensure we can manufacture and support the next generation of marine engines and technologies. We look forward to working with President Biden and Congress in the days ahead to build on this progress in subsequent measures.” 

“The marine industry remains a strong contributor to the U.S. economy, and that contribution has grown significantly with the rise of boating popularity over the last couple years,” said Matt Gruhn, President of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA). “The passing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Package is a critical step in providing the necessary funding for the programs and the resources necessary to keep boaters on the water and support the continued success of our industry.” 

Key recreational boating industry priorities included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:

  • Reauthorizes the $750 million Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund — a user-pay, user-benefit system, and the backbone of aquatic conservation projects across the country.
  • $10 billion to support U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recreation infrastructure priorities. (Note: USACE manages 12 million acres of recreation lands and waters, with 256 million American visiting USACE managed recreation sites each year.)
  • $455 million annually for five years for the Department of Transportation’s Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP), which will allow significant improvements to port facilities on coasts, rivers, and the Great Lakes.
  • $7 billion for USACE infrastructure priorities, which includes funding for projects on storm damage reduction and coastal storm risk management.
  • $4.35 billion for Western water infrastructure, which will promote ecosystem restoration and make boating access more resilient across the West.
  • Expands eligibility to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) alternative technology vehicle manufacturing (ATMV) loan program, advanced energy manufacturing and recycling grant program, and the clean hydrogen research and development program to include maritime products. This change allows the recreational boating industry to access DOE’s $17.7 billion loan authority for low-cost debt capital to support domestic manufacturing of fuel-efficient vehicles and qualifying components under the ATVM loan program.
  • $100 million for climate resilient recreation infrastructure priority projects.

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