WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) announced today that their proposal to provide $636 million for the major infrastructure overhaul of the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Md., was passed by the Senate Commerce Committee within the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022. The senators fought to include their proposal, which was initially laid out in their Service to the Fleet Act, legislation they introduced in June. The two senators had urged Commerce Committee leaders to include the provisions of their legislation in the larger Coast Guard Authorization Act. The measure can now be considered on the floor by the full Senate.
“The Coast Guard Yard is an important national asset that we are proud to have located in Curtis Bay, Maryland. Generations of Marylanders have serviced and built the fleets of both the Coast Guard and other branches of our armed services. I have been proud to work with Senator Van Hollen to secure long-overdue infrastructure investments,” said Senator Cardin. “The bipartisan support from the Commerce Committee reflects this important national role, and I look forward to working with members of the committee to move this funding forward.”
“For over 100 years, the Coast Guard Yard has played a critical role in the Coast Guard mission – serving as the core of all its ship-building and repair needs. It not only has been vital in supporting our national security, it’s also a key economic driver in our state, employing thousands of Marylanders directly and supporting additional good-paying, local jobs. That’s why we’ve been fighting for this critical infrastructure investment to modernize the Yard and ensure it can continue delivering for Maryland and our nation for another hundred years,” said Senator Van Hollen. “I was glad to see the Commerce Committee pass our proposal on a bipartisan basis today. This is an important step forward, and we’ll keep pushing to get this crucial investment all the way through Congress and onto President Biden’s desk – because the Yard and its dedicated workforce need a 21st century infrastructure to build and maintain a modern and effective fleet.”
The Coast Guard Yard has been in operation since 1899 and serves as the U.S. Coast Guard’s only shipbuilding and major repair facility. The Yard 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, the infrastructure at the Yard was built almost entirely during World War II and is outdated for 21st century operations and future missions.
Senators Cardin and Van Hollen introduced the Service to the Fleet Act to provide funding for the Coast Guard to carry out its infrastructure modernization plan for the Yard, which will better equip the Coast Guard to service new classes of larger and more technologically-advanced ships while improving conditions for the workforce. The Yard’s infrastructure modernization plan includes right-sizing facilities, repositioning work sites and project resources, increasing the productive capacity of the various shops, and streamlining transport systems, among other improvements. The senators then wrote to Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) – the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, respectively – urging them to include these provisions in the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022.
In addition to providing funding for the Yard, the bipartisan Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022 will address other infrastructure repair and replacement backlogs, help boost the Coast Guard’s Arctic presence, and crack down on illegal fishing and forced labor, among other national priorities. A section-by-section outline of the legislation is here.