The Administration released its FY2003 budget, proposing, as expected, the elimination of funding for the Title XI Maritime Loan Guarantee Program.
“The zero funding decision is disappointing but not surprising” said Allen Walker, president of the Shipbuilders Council of America, noting that the Administration had proposed a similar funding level last year. “This is a good program that has significantly helped stimulate ship construction in the U.S. and has created tens of thousands of American jobs.”
For the second time in as many years, the President’s budget has proposed zeroing funding for the Title XI program, a government loan guarantee program that has aided in the private financing of $4.7 billion in ship construction and shipyard modernization projects in the U.S. since 1993.
Walker added that “Title XI provides critically important economic and national security benefits, which is why more than 100 members of Congress worked together to add more than $33 million last year.”
The Title XI program traditionally receives strong support from Congress and the Coalition will aggressively seek Congressional support for the program this year.
A recent national security assessment of the U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry by the Federal government recommended that “unilateral removal” of U.S. shipbuilding programs is “inadvisable without a comprehensive national maritime vision.” That report also stated that “a domestic capability to produce and repair warships, support vessels, and commercial vessels is… fundamental to national security.”