May 30th 2017

The Trump administration’s 2018 budget requests just $210 million for the Maritime Security Program (MSP)—or $3.5 million per ship–instead of the $300 million ($5 million per ship) authorized by Congress.

Under the terms of the MSP, the federal government provides a retainer to privately owned, militarily useful U.S.-flag ships so they can carry cargo on behalf of the Department of Defense (DOD) in time of war or other national emergency.

The 60-ship MSP fleet currently supports nearly 7,700 U.S. mariner and shore-side jobs.

Without MSP, DOD would be forced to rely on foreign-flag ships that could lack the loyalty, readiness and capability to meet America’s needs.

In addition, independent analysts and DOD have found that replicating a logistics network comparable to that provided by MSP would cost U.S. taxpayers $63 billion.

MM&P and MIRAID will continue to work with the other maritime unions and U.S.-flag shipping companies to obtain funding for the Maritime Security Fleet at the full $5 million per vessel level authorized by Congress.

Additionally, the president’s budget requests no funding at all for the PL 480 Food for Peace Program, which provides much-needed cargo for ships in the U.S.-flag fleet.

The budget request, which the White House transmitted to Congress on May 23, would also cut funding for ports.

Slated for elimination is the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program.

The president’s budget also calls for a 52 percent reduction in funding for the Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security Grant Program (PSGP).

In fiscal 2017, the PSGP provided 35 port security related grants, and the TIGER grants program awarded $61.8 million in multimodal infrastructure grants to U.S. ports.

The port industry has identified a need for $66 billion in federal investments to port-related infrastructure over the next 10 years.

Ports and their private sector partners plan to invest $155 billion over the next five years alone in port facility infrastructure, and it’s vital that supporting federal investments be made, primarily to improve waterside and landside connections to ports, said American Association of Port Authorities Chief Executive Officer Kurt Nagle.

President Trump has also proposed cutting Environmental Protection Agency programs intended to help ports make investments in clean diesel equipment.

While the administration’s budget calls for increasing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funding by $400 million over the previous administration’s request of $4.6 billion, the request still represents a 16 percent decrease in the Corps budget when compared to the funds provided in the fiscal 2017 Omnibus.