February 5, 2002
Good news, bad news in Bush budget proposals
OMB hardliners who have a long standing institutional grudge against Title XI tried eliminate it in the last budget, but the program was eventually funded at a moderate level by the Congress. This time round, shipbuilders may find it a little tougher to win support for Title XI because of the yet-to-be-resolved problems of the uncompleted Project America cruise ships at Ingalls.
The Administration has, however, backed away from another assault on the Maritime Administration that was made in its first budget. This time, the Maritime Security Program is funded at $99 million--and there's no footnote about switching it to the Department of Defense.
Overall, the DOT budget request seeks $59.3 billion in funding for FY 2003.
In a briefing for reporters, U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Michael P. Jackson said that the fiscal 2003 budget for transportation includes $4.8 billion for the first full year of funding for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and $7.1 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard, representing the largest increase in the nations history for the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard request includes more than $400 million for increased port security; $90 million to modernize the maritime 911 system to eliminate radio coverage gaps along the coast and improve the Coast Guards ability to find those in distress; and $500 million for the Coast Guards Deepwater project, the long term process of replacing its aging fleet of boats, planes, helicopters, and cutters with state-of-the-art equipment.
The budget for the TSA includes $93,3 million for the "Under Secretary of Transportation for Security to award competitive grants to critical national seaports to finance the costs of enhancingfacility and operational security: Provided further, That such grants shall be awarded based on the need for security assessments and enhancements as determined by the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security, the Administrator of the Maritime Administration, and the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard."