WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) today announced their introduction of a bill to invest over $600 million in major infrastructure modernization efforts at the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland.
The shipyard, which has been in operation since 1899 and is the Coast Guard’s only shipbuilding and major repair facility, employs 2,200 full-time personnel and is a critical national security asset that supports not only the Coast Guard’s fleet but also the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), among other federal government agencies. However, its WWII-era structures and configuration are increasingly outdated for its 21st century operations and future mission.
During a visit to the Yard today, the Senators highlighted that their Service to the Fleet Act would provide $632 million for the Coast Guard to carry out its infrastructure optimization plan, which will better equip the Coast Guard to service the new classes of larger and more technologically-advanced ships while simultaneously improving work conditions for the workforce.
“The Coast Guard Yard plays an irreplaceable role in ensuring the readiness of the Coast Guard, Army, Navy, and federal agencies; as well as supporting local jobs and economic activity,” said Senator Cardin. “This legislation recognizes and addresses the backlog of infrastructure needs that must be addressed for the Yard to continue to serve these important functions for Maryland and the nation far into the future. I look forward to working with colleagues to move this priority forward.”
“The Coast Guard Yard is an enduring symbol of Maryland’s maritime history, a key asset for our national security, and an important employer and regional economic driver. To maintain that, we need to ensure the Yard – and the dedicated men and women who work there – have the tools they need to keep up with our ever-changing fleet. This new legislation will invest over $600 million in replacing the Yard’s World War II-era infrastructure and position it to meet the shipbuilding and repair demands of today and tomorrow,” said Senator Van Hollen.
“Today is a great day for the Coast Guard Yard. The introduction of this new bill, the Service to the Fleet Act, will set the Yard up for unlimited success many years in the future,” said Matt Aaron, an employee at the Coast Guard Yard and member of the Baltimore Area Metal Trades Council.
The infrastructure at the Yard was built almost entirely during World War II. Among the many issues that harm productivity, several production areas are undersized and poorly arranged; storage space is insufficient; and the current configuration of roads requires additional logistical planning when oversized components need to be moved around the facility. These deficiencies harm productivity and raise costs. As such, significant new investment is needed to advance the Yard’s long-term mission support capabilities and maintain the USCG’s new, modernized fleet.
The Service to the Fleet Act will fully fund the Coast Guard’s Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan, which will drive efficiency in future ship repair and deliver long term cost savings to the Service. The plan focuses on right-sizing facilities, repositioning work sites and project resources, increasing the productive capacity of the various shops, and streamlining transport systems, among other improvements.
Text of the Service to the Fleet Act is here.
High resolution photos and video are available upon request.
Photo caption 1: Senator Cardin speaking
Photo caption 2: Senator Van Hollen speaking
Photo caption 3: Matt Aaron, Coast Guard Yard employee and member of the Baltimore Area Metal Trades Council, speaking