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Mr. McINTYRE. I rise today in support of my amendment to the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011 on which we are working together to consider as part of the en bloc amendments. This important and timely amendment calls on the Committee on the Marine Transportation System to coordinate with local businesses to promote an efficient marine transportation system.
As many of us know, the marine transportation system is essential to the American economy. It supports millions of American jobs, facilitates trade, moves people and goods, and provides a safe, secure, cost-effective, and energy-efficient transportation system. It's a win-win-win.
Yet, if there are not adequate maintenance resources in place, our MTS will continue to age, and the result will be a worn and decrepit waterfront, badly neglected locks and dams, and harbors with inadequate drafts to accept foreign, deep-draft tonnage.
Our local businesses are on the front lines of commerce every day, and they know where the savings and efficiencies are that could be improved. We must work with our local businesses who know business best. If government is going to be involved in improving the business environment, it only makes sense that government talks to the businesses that we're trying to help.
In my coastal district of North Carolina, marine transportation and commerce is the lifeblood of the Cape Fear region. In understanding the importance of marine transportation and waterway infrastructure, I sought the input of local business leaders to develop the Seventh Congressional District Coastal Compact to outline key priorities for our area's coastal infrastructure, maritime commerce, and a way in which we can get the public and private sector and government agencies to work together.
So this amendment that I have put forth builds on a proven model used to develop our Coastal Compact and one in which we believe that business leaders across this country would like to have a say and involvement and firsthand knowledge to be involved with our marine transportation system.
This is an example for us in Congress, an example that we must follow to improve not only our marine transportation system, but also to create jobs and to sustain an environment in which American business can flourish. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to support this amendment so we can bridge a better partnership with our local businesses to improve the maritime transportation system and put our Nation back on a path of economic vitality.
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