Vice Chair Crowley Cheers Inclusion of Funding for New Training Vessel at SUNY Maritime College in President’s Budget
Following Crowley-led letter, President Designates $5 Million to Replace Aging Ship Fleet
(Washington, D.C.) –Today, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, announced that President Obama included $5 million in his budget to design and replace the aging training ships used by our nation’s six State Maritime Academies (SMAs), including SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx. In December, Crowley led 25 bipartisan members of Congress in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget urging the agencies to develop and support a plan to replace the aging fleet.
“I’m thrilled President Obama recognizes the very serious need to replace these aging ships so that we can ensure SUNY Maritime College and all of our nation’s maritime academies continue to serve at the forefront of maritime education,” said Rep. Crowley. “Our maritime industry is an essential part of our nation’s economy and national security, and we must ensure our maritime academies have the resources necessary to continue developing highly skilled mariners. That starts with replacing the aging vessels where they are being trained.”
Aging multi-mission vessels is a serious challenge facing our nation’s maritime industries. While the average age of the ships is 35, SUNY Maritime College’s Empire State VI is 52 years old, well past its useful lifespan. Without new vessels, the SMAs, including SUNY Maritime College, will not have sufficient means to train future generations of maritime workers, not to mention 70 percent of the nation’s new United States Coast Guard licensed officers each year. This would harm thousands of students from all 50 states who receive training at the academies.
In addition to providing federally-mandated at-sea training for maritime workers, multi-mission ships also serve on missions related to national emergencies, including natural disasters.
“The inclusion of this funding in the President’s budget is an important first step,” continued Crowley. “As the President’s budget requests come through Congress, I will work to secure this funding so our maritime academies can finally utilize ships that meet today’s training demands.”
Congressman Crowley is the nine-term representative from the 14th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He is a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee and serves as Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives.