Senator Collins included this funding in an appropriations bill she authored, rejecting a misguided proposal to provide the academy with a smaller, inferior vessel
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, announced today that the Senate has advanced a funding bill she authored by a vote of 84-9 that included $300 million for the acquisition of a new training vessel for Maine Maritime Academy (MMA).
“This ship is a critical training asset for Maine Maritime Academy, which is why I fought to include this funding throughout the Appropriations process,” said Senator Collins. “Maine Maritime Academy provides an exceptional education that fully prepares students to excel in the Navy, Coast Guard, and the maritime industry. This new ship will be capable of meeting the demands of the rigorous instruction students receive.”
“This appropriation demonstrates that Congress believes in the value of our State Maritime Academies and our role in support of economic and national security. I am especially pleased with the level of support we have received from Senator Susan Collins who, as Chair of the Senate’s Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, has had the laboring oar in approving funding for this huge accomplishment,” said Dr. William J. Brennan, President of Maine Maritime Academy. “Funding for this ship, the third in the National Security Multi-mission Vessel (NSMV) program, replaces the aging fleet of training ships with purpose-built modern vessels, greatly enhancing our maritime training and education program. Our current ship, the TS State of Maine, is almost 30 years old and the oldest ship in the fleet is more than 55 years old.”
Senator Collins strongly opposed the Administration’s proposal earlier this year that requested $205 million to construct a 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. In addition, changing the design would have required the U.S. Maritime Administration to start from scratch in designing a brand new ship.
In response to questions from Senator Collins at a Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee hearing she chaired in March, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao committed to working with her to secure additional funding.
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.
Senator Collins introduced Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer when he delivered the commencement address at MMA in May. Approximately 1,000 undergraduates are enrolled at the institution.