The Marine Highway Program would also receive $5 million for grants from the Senate. There’s no funding for the program in the House version of the bill. There’s plenty of good news for aging public ferry systems in grant programs from the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration. Under the FAST Act signed into law by President Obama in December 2015, as much as $80 million in grants will be available to build, refit or repair ferries and ferry terminals over each of the next five years. This past May, the Federal Transit Authority awarded states $59 million in grants to build new, upgrade or repair ferries and ferry terminals. And, as Clay Cook writes in “MARAD Reboots CCF, Part II,” in this issue, monies deposited in the Capital Construction Fund can now be used in the construction of Roll-On/Roll-Off Passenger vessels such as those being built for Washington State Ferries.
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hen Amer icans go to the polls on November 8, they will not only be voting for a new President, but also shaping a new Congress, with 34 Senators and 435 Representatives on the ballot. Whether it is President-Elect Clinton or President-Elect Trump, when Congress does return during the lame duck session—the House is back November 14 and the Senate on November 15—they’ll have some important business to tackle. One issue that they’ll have to address right away is
the Continuing Resolution, which keeps the government running through December 9. They will also have to finish the 2017 budget. Among the maritime-related sections, there is $10 million authorized for the U.S. Maritime Administration’s Small Shipyard Grant program in the Senate bill. The program has been instrumental in spurring investment in U.S. shipyards to make them more efficient, productive and competitive and has been over-subscribed since it was first created. Shipyards have used the grants to add panel lines, welding equipment, cranes, etc. The Maritime Administration (MARAD) Title XI Ship Loan Guarantee program is also funded in the Senate version of the bill to the tune of $5 million, plus an additional amount for administrative expenses. That $5 million could be leveraged to go a long way, backing several newbuild projects at U.S. shipyards. House members aren’t so high on Title XI—they would rescind funding.
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20 Marine Log // November 2016
Lawmakers Have to Get Busy Before End of Year