WASHINGTON, D.C. — Funding for construction and acquisition of a new training vessel for Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) took a step forward Monday when an appropriations agreement was announced that includes $300 million for the ship.
Senator Susan Collins chaired the negotiating committee that brokered the agreement between the House and the Senate for the Transportation and Housing appropriations bill.
The agreement must now receive a vote in both the House and the Senate. Once passed by both chambers, the bill will proceed to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
Collins strongly opposed the Administration’s proposal earlier this year that requested $205 million to construct a smaller training vessel for MMA. It would have been inferior to a ship funded in fiscal year (FY) 2019 for Massachusetts Maritime Academy despite the fact that Maine Maritime Academy has nearly the same number of Coast Guard-licensed graduates and the same need for at-sea training, according to Collins’ office.
In addition, changing the design would have required the U.S. Maritime Administration to start from scratch in designing a brand new ship.
The $300 million for the new training ship at MMA was included in the FY 2020 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill authored by Senator Collins. In addition, the bill provides $5 million in direct support and tuition assistance for the Maine Maritime Academy, as well as fuel payments for their current training ship, the State of Maine.