Press Release

June 23, 2022
Cardin, Van Hollen Urge Senate Commerce Committee to Fund Coast Guard Yard Infrastructure Modernization
Senators introduced legislation last week to provide $632 million in funding to Coast Guard Yard

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) today urged U.S. Senate Commerce Committee leaders to include their Service to Fleet Act – legislation the Senators introduced last week to fully fund major infrastructure modernization efforts at the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland – in the forthcoming Coast Guard Reauthorization Act.

In a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Senators Van Hollen and Cardin detail the Yard’s outdated structures and configuration. Given its continued strategic importance to national security, they call on the Commerce Committee leaders to include their Service to the Fleet Act in the larger Coast Guard reauthorization package, which is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks. The Service to the Fleet Act fully funds the Coast Guard Yard infrastructure optimization plan at $632 million and will enable it to service the new classes of larger and more technologically-advanced ships while simultaneously improving work conditions for the workforce.

“Despite its critical role in our national security, the Coast Guard Yard faces a rapid and widespread failure of critical infrastructure, nearly all of which was built in during a 4-year period during World War II,” the Senators write. “Infrastructure failures at the Yard have caused injuries, had negative environmental impacts, reduced productivity, increased repair costs, and undermined the ability of the Coast Guard Yard to carry out its mission.

“Current resources are inadequate even just to maintain the current—unacceptable—state of the infrastructure and facilities at the Yard. A substantial investment is needed in the very near term to allow the Yard to meet its infrastructure needs and continue providing essential services to the fleet for long into the future. For that reason, we ask that you include the Service to the Fleet Act in your upcoming Coast Guard Authorization Act,” the Senators conclude.

The letter can be read here and below.

Dear Chair Cantwell and Ranking Member Wicker:

As you consider the upcoming Coast Guard Reauthorization Act, we write to request that you include the text of the Service to the Fleet Act, which we recently introduced, in the base text of your bill. This critical legislation will authorize full funding for the unmet infrastructure needs of the U.S. Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore.

The Coast Guard Yard is a critical national asset. Since 1899, the Yard has served as the Coast Guard’s sole shipbuilding and major repair facility and an essential part of the Service’s industrial base and fleet support operations. One of only five remaining public shipyards in the United States, the Yard supports more than 2,000 full-time personnel and their families and provides vital services not only to the Coast Guard but to the Army, Navy, NOAA, and other Federal agencies. As the Coast Guard’s only Navy-certified heavy weapons overhaul facility, the Yard hosts an average of eight visiting vessels and their crews at any given time and provides housing, medical and emergency services, human resources, morale, welfare and recreation support, and other base activities to approximately 1,000 visiting crew members annually.

Despite its critical role in our national security, the Coast Guard Yard faces a rapid and widespread failure of critical infrastructure, nearly all of which was built in during a 4-year period during World War II. Based on the grading criteria of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the overall infrastructure grade for the Coast Guard Yard is a D+, which is below the C- average for other Coast Guard facilities. Infrastructure failures at the Yard have caused injuries, had negative environmental impacts, reduced productivity, increased repair costs, and undermined the ability of the Coast Guard Yard to carry out its mission.

Current resources are inadequate even just to maintain the current—unacceptable—state of the infrastructure and facilities at the Yard. A substantial investment is needed in the very near term to allow the Yard to meet its infrastructure needs and continue providing essential services to the fleet for long into the future.

For that reason, we ask that you include the Service to the Fleet Act in your upcoming Coast Guard Authorization Act.

Sincerely,

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