The U.S. Department of Transportation's FY 2012 budget request includes just $358 million for all U.S. Maritime Administration activities. However, the request for Marad's Operations and Training is $162 million, an increase of $12 million above FY 2010. The request includes $93 million for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point, N.Y., an increase of $19 million over FY 2010. In March last year, a Blue Ribbon panel found that the condition of the physical plant of the academy, Kings Point, N.Y., had "reached a tipping point."
Among the findings: Many facilities, including several that house and feed midshipmen, were in such poor condition as to be no longer capable of meeting the needs of the regiment. Others had reached the end of their useful life and were in urgent need of extensive refurbishment or replacement. The panl warned that ailure to improve the maintenance of the academy's facilities and to aggressively invest in more suitable and modern facilities, including engineering laboratories and marine simulators, will result in the decline of the institution and risks the eventual loss of the school's accreditation.
The budget moves to address this situation by requesting:
- $29 million ($12 million above FY 2010) is requested for the consolidated USMMA Capital Asset Management program, including: $23 million for capital improvements ($11.5 million to start renovation of the Cleveland Hall midshipman barracks; $9 million to complete the renovation of the Delano Mess Hall planned to begin in FY 2011; and $2.5 million to begin architectural and engineering studies for renovation of the remaining barracks and academic buildings); $2 million for major capital repairs and equipment replacement; and $4 million for facilities maintenance.
- $7 million in new funding is requested to meet other Academy operational priorities, including midshipman program requirements, instructional priorities and critical information technology infrastructure improvements.
- $17 million is requested for the six State maritime academies, an increase of $1 million from the FY
- 2010 request.
Only $51 million is requested for MARAD Operations and Programs, $8 million below FY 2010.
Assistance to Small Shipyards grant program: No new funds are requested for this program.
Ship Disposal program: $19 million is requested for this program. This funding level includes $3 million to support nuclear license management for the Nuclear Ship SAVANNAH and $3 million for obsolete fleet environmental remediation.
Maritime Security Program: $174 million is requested for this program. This amount, plus $12 million in unobligated balances, will fully fund the $186 million authorized level of $3.1 million for each of the 60 ships enrolled in the program.
Maritime Guaranteed Loan Program (Title XI): The President requests $4 million for administrative expenses, consistent with the FY 2010. No new loan subsidies are requested for FY 2012; and, $54.1 million of unobligated balances (resources funded in the FY 2009 and 2010 Department of Defense appropriations) are proposed for cancellation.