• The justification for federal assistance in emerging United States surface freight transportation modes: the case for America's Marine Highways

      Yahalom, Shmuel; Jorgenson, James G. (2021-04)
      The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and Maritime Administration (MARAD) developed America’s Marine Highway Program to minimize congested surface transportation conditions. A decade after its implementation, America’s Marine Highway Program continues to be an emerging freight transportation alternative. Historically, emerging United States surface freight transportation modes, i.e., the first transcontinental railroad and the Interstate Highway System, received legislation that appropriated significant levels of federal assistance during their nascent stage due to their high social rate of return; a high social rate of return was determined to range from 20 to 30 percent. This study argues that the justification for federal assistance in emerging United States surface freight transportation modes is based on their respective social rate of return. This study defends that the positive externalities associated with America’s Marine Highway Program, i.e., the social rate of return, justifies a similar level of initial federal startup support based on its benefits to United States national security.