Committee Approves Maritime Administration Authorization Act

June 26, 2003

Washington, DC – The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee today approved by voice vote, S. 1262, Maritime Administration Authorization Act of 2003. Senator McCain introduced the bill on June 13, 2003. The purpose of the bill is to authorize appropriations for the Maritime Administration (MARAD) operations and training, administration costs associated with the shipbuilding loan guarantee program authorized by Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, and the disposal of vessels in the National Defense Reserve Fleet that have been identified by the Secretary of Transportation as obsolete. The bill includes provisions designed to reform how MARAD manages the Title XI maritime loan guarantee program. Both the Department of Transportation Inspector General and the General Accounting Office have found that MARAD has failed to provide effective oversight in receiving and approving loan guarantees; has failed to closely monitor the financial condition of borrowers during the term of the loan; and has failed to adequately monitor the condition of projects subject to guarantee. They also found that MARAD was flagrant in its use of authority in granting waivers to its own regulations governing the program without taking steps to better secure the taxpayer against defaults. The bill includes reform provisions to address these findings.
The Committee adopted the following amendments to S. 1262:
· An amendment by Senator McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Hollings (D-SC) to reauthorize the Maritime Security Fleet program, and for other purposes.
Click here for a PDF version of the McCain-Hollings amendment.

· An amendment by Senator McCain to authorize appropriations for two additional years for MARAD training and operations, Title XI administration, and ship scrapping, expiring at the end of FY 2008.
Click here for a PDF version of the McCain amendment.

· An amendment by Senator Hollings to make technical correction regarding the use of foreign built launch barges in the domestic trade.
Click here for a PDF version of the Hollings amendment.

· An amendment by Senator Lott (R-MI) to authorize monies for Title XI, direct subsidies for ship construction, and for other purposes.
Click here for a PDF version of the Lott amendment.

The Committee held a hearing on June 5, 2003 on the Title XI program administered by MARAD. ###