Marine Navigation Improvement Fund

The Marine Navigation and Improvement Fund (MNIF) provides grants and loans that fund either:

  • a federally authorized project that needs matching funds; or
  • a non-federally authorized project that directly supports or accesses an authorized navigation improvement project.

Who Can Apply?

Any port incorporated under ORS Chapter 777 or 778 may apply for funding.

Funding and Uses

Funding for projects is limited to money set aside by the Oregon Legislature.

Federally authorized projects
These include projects designed and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The federal government provides 75 percent of the funding; the state Legislature provides the 25 percent match.

Projects must be:

  • authorized by Congress;
  • large enough to have a positive national cost/benefit ratio;
  • sponsored by a port; and
  • listed in the port's business or strategic plan.

Non-federally authorized projects
These projects are smaller and cannot qualify for federal assistance. The proposed project must support a certain level of commercial or recreational activity in order to qualify for state funding.

These projects must:

  • meet the criteria of a freight project or a commercial/recreation project;
  • be a new water project that directly supports, or provides access to, a federally authorized navigation improvement or navigation channel project;
  • be ready to begin in the biennium funding is requested; and be listed in a port's business or strategic plan.

Note: Proposed new navigation facilities don't have an operating history and can't meet the criteria of a freight project. However, the project can still qualify if it is reasonably forecasted to meet the criteria of a freight project within the first two years of operation and usage is forecasted to exceed the minimum criteria thereafter.

Projects can be funded:

  • up to 100 percent through a loan, if the port can support that level of debt from its general fund;
  • up to 75 percent through a state grant for projects with a record of activity that meets the minimum criteria; or
  • up to 50 percent through a state grant for new water projects anticipated to meet the minimum criteria within a couple of years of completion.

When a local match is required, it may be in the form of cash or a combination of cash and in-kind services. If cash and in-kind services are used for the required match, the in-kind services may not be more than 10 percent of the total project cost.

Ports must secure, and be able to provide upon request, a land use compatibility statement from the appropriate jurisdiction(s) where the project is located.

Low-interest loans
Interest rates are determined during the financial review. Loan terms will not exceed 25 years.

Grants are available for projects that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Job creation and/or retention as a direct result for the project.
  • The project deals with critical public safety issues and the IFA's financial analysis determines the port's borrowing ability cannot finance the project.
  • There is an imminent threat that the port will lose permits and the IFA's financial analysis determines the port's borrowing ability cannot finance the project.

How and When to Apply

Applications for funding through the Marine Navigation Improvement Fund are accepted year-round. The following outlines the application process:

Step 1: Contact your regional development officer. A Project Notification & Intake form will need to be completed.

Step 2: Submit the Intake form. The IFA reviews the form to make sure eligibility for the funding program has been met. A financial review will then take place to determine if the applicant has the ability to repay a loan.

Step 3: Award. A letter will be sent notifying the applicant of the award amount, the terms and any conditions of the award. Contract documents will be sent to the applicant for signature.