WASHINGTON, DC—The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) and its 32 affiliated unions today urged Congress to invest in our nation’s military and economic security, and separately in our harbors and waterways, through the Maritime Security Program (MSP) and the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
“Transportation unions today put their support behind efforts to boost languishing investment in our port network and U.S. Merchant Marine that is undermining the economy, American competitiveness and our military sealift capacity,” said TTD President Edward Wytkind.
MSP gives the Department of Defense (DOD) access to U.S.-flagged vessels, U.S. mariners, and global logistics networks to support our government sealift requirements. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, MSP vessels carried more than 90 percent of the DOD waterborne cargo transported to the region. The 60 vessels in the MSP fleet employ approximately 2,700 mariners and support about 5,000 shore-side jobs.
Congress and the Obama administration recently repaired a funding anomaly that threatened funding for MSP, but full funding is needed for the remainder of the year.
“MSP funding is not corporate welfare or a frivolous subsidy. It is a shrewd investment in our nation’s military and economic security,” said Wytkind. “We cannot allow another round of sequestration cuts to harm our U.S.-flag fleet and undermine good-paying, middle-class jobs.”
Transportation unions also implore the House and Senate to come together quickly in conference and pass the first water resources funding bill since 2007, and to reform harbor maintenance spending.
“A backlog in port and harbor improvement projects threatens our economy,” Wytkind added. “Our port network cannot stand still while the rest of the world invests billions to modernize its maritime capacity. This legislation will make America more competitive and create thousands of maritime and construction jobs.”
The WRDA and MSP policy statements were adopted at the TTD Executive Committee’s fall meeting today. All 10 can be found at TTD.org.
CONTACT: Jennifer Michels, 202.628.9262, 703.395.2195