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her San Francisco district, to restructure its
debt and make revenue-producing upgrades.
The legislation was originally viewed as a
local issue rather than a statewide one, but
Senator Wolk argued that the improvements
would allow the marina to maintain its fish-
ing industry while stimulating economic
development and attracting recreational boat-
ers. Plans include a new launch ramp, deeper
channels, a new bait shop, boat storage, and
a waterfront restaurant. Although this project
was funded through a legislative fix, it also
could have applied for matching dollars from
such programs as U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s
Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program
(see sidebar above).
In 2012, the North Carolina State Legislature
passed a bill that raised the cost of boat
registrations across the state and specifically
allocated the funds to pay for the dredging
of numerous shallow-draft inlets. BoatU.S.
worked with legislators to make sure that the
bill treated all users of the waterways equally
and that commercial as well as recreational
users shouldered an acceptable increase in
fees. For decades, the ACOE has maintained
the multitude of shallow-draft inlets that line
the North Carolina coasts. However, lack
of funds has left these inlets in dangerous
condition. Additionally, the Outer Banks are
a magnet for storms moving up the Atlantic
coast. Dramatic shoaling is often a result of
these storms. Having its own source of registration fee revenue, half of which goes directly into the shallow-draft-inlet fund, allows the
state to better weather the waning availability
of dredging support from the ACOE.
The sleepy town of Northport, population
300, sits on the Columbia River where the
Grand Coulee Dam creates the 150-mile-
long Lake Roosevelt. Although the lake has
36 | BoatU.S. Magazine JUNE | JULY 2015
BOATERS’ BIG TAX RETURN
The federal Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program,
established with the help of BoatU.S., is a critical tool for
helping communities keep boating accessible, fun, and
affordable. The grant program utilizes taxes assessed on
the sales of motor fuel, marine engines, and fishing tackle,
and it redistributes needed funds to boating facilities and
projects across the country. In February 2015, the BIG
Program announced the awards of more than $14,301,250.
The BIG Program has two tiers of grants. Tier 1 awards
go to projects competing against other projects in the
same state, with a maximum of $100,000 going out to
each state annually. Tier 2 grant applicants compete
nationally and are for larger-scale projects, with grant
awards up to $1.5 million.
If you’ve identified a local boating-facility need in your
community, consider applying for a BIG grant through your
state boating access agency.