The Reporter (Vacaville)

Garamendi bill to provide financing for ship repair at Mare Island Dry Dock

- By Thomas Gase tgase@timesheral­

The Mare Island Dry Dock could be getting some upgrades soon.

U.S. Rep. John Garamendi has reintroduc­ed the “Federal Ship Financing Improvemen­t Act” (H.R.874), which aims to provide new federal loans and loan guarantees for repairs and retrofits of U.S.flagged civilian vessels in domestic commercial shipyards, like Mare Island Dry Dock.

Under current law, the U.S. Maritime Administra­tion's (MARAD) Federal Ship Financing Program provides low-interest federal loans and loan guarantees for new vessel constructi­on in domestic commercial shipyards. Garamendi's bill would authorize the Maritime Administra­tion to provide financing for vessel repairs and retrofits of civilian vessels in domestic shipyards, like Mare Island Dry Dock.

“As Vallejo's Congressma­n, I am securing new federal resources to support the revitaliza­tion of Mare Island and expansion of the shipyard,” said Garamendi, a Democrat from the state's District 8, in a news release. “My bill would unlock billions in new federal financing for repair work and vessel retrofits on civilian vessels at commercial shipyards, like Mare Island Dry Dock. As we continue working to build out Mare Island's repair work for the Coast Guard and potentiall­y other military contracts, we need every federal tool in the toolbox. That's exactly what my bill does.”

The act currently awaits action by the House Committee on Transporta­tion and Infrastruc­ture, of which Garamendi is a senior member.

Last March Garamendi announced a historic $13 million investment by Mare Island Dry Dock company to double its workforce as the shipyard pursues new work repairing vessels for the U.S. Coast Guard and other military contracts.

A few months later In December Garamendi secured a provision in the Water Resources Developmen­t Act of 2022 (Division H of Public Law 117-263) signed by President Biden directing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete a feasibilit­y study with the City of Vallejo on deepening the Mare Island Strait Channel, increasing federal investment to support the redevelopm­ent of Mare Island and the shipyard.

In 2019, Garamendi's “Strengthen­ing Buy America for Small Shipyard Grants Act” with U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat, was enacted in the National Defense Authorizat­ion Act for Fiscal Year 2020. Garamendi's law requires that all shipyard improvemen­t projects funded by the Maritime Administra­tion's Small Shipyard Grant Program use constructi­on materials produced or manufactur­ed in the United States.

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