Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg's bill to authorize the Maritime Security Program for the Maritime Administration (MARAD) was signed into law when President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act. The remainder of Senator Lautenberg's provisions to reauthorize federal maritime programs carried out by MARAD were signed into law in December when President Obama signed the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act. Lautenberg is Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security, which has jurisdiction over the MARAD.
"Federal maritime programs are critical to our nation's economy and security, and I am pleased that Congress has reauthorized and strengthened these programs," said Senator Lautenberg. "These laws move our maritime industry forward by expanding critical programs and ensuring a strong merchant marine to supply our troops with the equipment and supplies they need."
The provisions that Lautenberg authored in the Natioanl Defense Authorization Act and the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act that will authorize MARAD funding include:
Providing certainty to the Armed Services and ship owners by reauthorizing the Maritime Security Fleet Program through 2025;
Promoting and strengthening short sea shipping in the Marine Highways Program to move more cargo on the sea rather than on crowded highways; and
Fostering innovation in the maritime sector and providing infrastructure and workforce to make sure our system is prepared for the future.
MARAD administers the U.S. merchant marine support programs, including operation of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, to promote the development and maintenance of an adequate, well-balanced U.S. merchant marine sufficient to carry the nation's waterborne freight and capable of service as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency.