Transport Committee OKs USCG Bill

Monday, April 26, 2004
Bipartisan legislation that authorizes approximately $8 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard in Fiscal Year 2005, including $1.1 billion for the agency’s efforts to modernize its operational assets (Deepwater Project), was approved today by the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The Coast Guard Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 (H.R. 3879), is cosponsored by:

* Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman

* Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN), Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Ranking Democrat

* Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman

* Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), Coast Guard Subcommittee Ranking Democrat

* Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL), Coast Guard Subcommittee Member

The bill was unanimously approved without amendment.

The Senate recently passed H.R. 2443, the Committee’s FY 2004 Coast Guard Authorization legislation which the House passed last November. The Senate amended H.R. 2443 to include an FY 2005 authorization. Committee Members expect a conference on H.R. 2443 to begin soon and will work to include today’s legislation in the final Coast Guard package.

"It Is Important That We Continue To Support The Work Of The Coast Guard” “It is important that we continue to support the work of the Coast Guard and to provide adequate funding to insure that the Coast Guard can continue to fulfill the many missions we have given them,” said Transportation Committee Chairman Young.

Coast Guard’s Aging Fleet Of Vessels & Aircraft Are Deteriorating At An Alarming Rate

“The bill allocates $1.1 billion for the Deepwater Program, putting us on track to accelerate the program's completion date to 2016 – five years earlier than originally planned,” said Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman LoBiondo. “Acceleration is critically needed as the Coast Guard’s aging fleet of vessels and aircraft are deteriorating at an alarming rate.

“Helicopter engines are failing in flight, hulls on the patrol boats are literally rusting through, and fires are plaguing engines on the larger vessels.

“If we expect the service to continue to be able to perform its many vital missions, then it is imperative for the Administration and Congress to recognize that these assets need to be replaced much sooner and provide the necessary funding to do so.

“This bill will provide the Coast Guard the resources that it needs to perform the many important homeland security and traditional missions that we expect the Coast Guard to carry out every day,” LoBiondo said.

The Coast Guard Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 H.R. 3879 authorizes the following funds for the Coast Guard in Fiscal Year 2005:

* Operating Expenses – $5,212,220,000. This is the level requested in the President’s FY 2005 budget, plus $39,000,000, the estimated cost of establishing a West Coast Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron.

* Reserve Training – $117,000,000. This is the level requested in the President’s FY 2005 budget.

* Environmental Compliance and Restoration – $17,000,000. This is the level requested in the President’s FY 2005 budget.

* Acquisitions, Construction and Improvements (AC&I) – $1,528,494,000. This includes $1,100,000,000 for the Integrated Deepwater System, the Coast Guard’s long-term replacement program for its operational capital assets. It also includes funding for non-Deepwater AC&I at the FY 2004 appropriated level, and $75,000,000 to continue equipping C130J aircraft already purchased by the service.

* Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation – $18,500,000. This is the level requested by the President. The bill assumes the funds will be provided directly to the Coast Guard rather than to the S&T Directorate as requested.

* Bridge Alterations – $19,136,000. This is the FY 2004 appropriated amount. The Administration did not request any funding to carry out the Truman-Hobbs bridge alterations.

* Retired Pay – $1,085,460,000. This is the amount requested by the Administration. This is a mandatory expenditure.

* H.R. 3879 also authorizes 45,500 Coast Guard active duty personnel as of September 30, 2005 and the number of students who can participate in Coast Guard training programs.

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