Commerce Committee Approves Hutchison Bills to Strengthen Safety and Security of America’s Ports and Improve Maritime Commerce

July 8, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee today approved several bills cosponsored by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ranking Member on the Committee, that would strengthen the safety and security of America’s ports and improve the nation’s maritime commerce.  The Coast Guard Authorization Act (S. 1194) would authorize $9.5 billion for the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and provide organizational flexibility to better address safety and security in America’s ports and waterways.  The Maritime Administration (MARAD) Authorization Act of 2010 would provide MARAD the authority it needs to coordinate port infrastructure development projects and will bolster maritime education at state and federal maritime academies.

“As a representative of a coastal state, I understand how important it is to strengthen the safety and security of our ports, improve maritime commerce, and better protect our citizens,” said Senator Hutchison.  “It is imperative that we recognize the huge impact that both the United States Coast Guard and the Maritime Administration have on virtually all citizens, not just those living in the nation’s coastal areas. The modern maritime system is the lifeblood of the national economy. In my state, the Port of Houston alone delivers $285 billion in economic value, $16.2 billion in federal tax revenue, and supports over 1.5 million jobs.  This legislation is vital to our nation’s coastal areas, and is an important step in securing America’s ports and waterways.”

Over 90% of the world’s trade is carried on the water and in the United States, the maritime transportation system carries 78% of all international trade, including 66% of all the crude oil consumed.  The maritime system quite literally generates millions of jobs.

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