The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, chaired by U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) held a hearing today to review the state of the Marine Transportation System (MTS) and explore ways to enhance the MTS to create jobs, improve the flow of commerce, and increase U.S. exports.
The hearing, entitled "Creating Jobs and Increasing U.S. exports by Enhancing the Marine Transportation System," examined the ways in which the MTS can be improved to meet the current challenges it faces. More information and testimony by maritime industry leaders can be found here.
"The MTS is a vast resource that facilitates our robust maritime commerce," said Chairman LoBiondo. "It consists of waterways, ports, and intermodal landside connections that allows for the movement of passengers and cargo on the water. The MTS includes nearly 360,000 miles of navigable channels, railways, and highways, as well as 238 locks and 3,700 marine terminals.
"The commerce which moves on the MTS fuels the U.S. economy. Approximately 99 percent of the volume of overseas trade enters or leaves the United States by water. The movement of cargo and associated activities on the Marine Transportation System adds more than $649 billion annually to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, sustains more than 13 million jobs, and contributes over $212 billion in annual federal, state, and local taxes."
Chairman LoBiondo and the Subcommittee focused on the importance of constant maintenance and enhancement of the MTS to creating U.S. jobs. "Domestic shipping alone is responsible for over half a million American jobs and $100 billion in annual economic output," Chairman LoBiondo noted. "As such, ongoing maintenance and improvements to the MTS is essential to any effort to create jobs and expand exports."