WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1) joined Representatives Andrew R. Garbarino (NY-2), Tom Suozzi (NY-3), David Valadao (CA-22), Jen Kiggans (VA-2), Anthony D'Esposito (NY-4), Nick LaLota (NY-1), Jeff Van Drew (NJ-2), Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), and Marc Molinaro (NY-19) to introduce legislation authorizing funding for necessary expenses for the rehabilitation, modernization, and construction of facilities and infrastructure at the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA). 

Specifically, the legislation would authorize funds to support the implementation of the Full Speed Ahead infrastructure plan, created by The Maritime Security Infrastructure Council (MSIC) in order to address critical infrastructure needs at the USMMA. Funding would be authorized from FY24-FY34 in the amount of $54 million the first year, and $107,333,333 each subsequent year. The introduction of this bill comes on National Maritime Day, a day that recognizes the launch of the maritime industry in the United States and honors our Merchant Marines for their contributions and sacrifices for our country.

"For over eight decades, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy has been an indispensable pillar of our national security, serving as our ‘fourth arm of defense’. Additionally, with 95 percent of the world's goods transported by water, the USMMA is essential for developing leaders crucial to the effective operation of our merchant fleet and, consequently, the economic vitality of our nation. Unfortunately, the USMMA's outdated and deteriorating infrastructure has been neglected for far too long, critically undermining mission-essential training and hindering recruitment efforts. This grave neglect poses a significant threat to both our national security and economic stability. I am proud to join Congressman Garbarino and my colleagues in our shared commitment to providing the midshipmen with the advanced technology, comprehensive training, specialized education, and essential resources they deserve and need to successfully execute their noble mission of serving and safeguarding our nation," said Rep. Fitzpatrick.

"The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is one of our nation's five federal service academies and responsible for educating and training mariners who are committed to serving the United States as licensed Merchant Marine Officers and commissioned officers in the Armed Forces," said Rep. Garbarino. "Maritime security is critical to our national security, and yet the Academy has been allowed to fall into disrepair - threatening recruitment efforts as well as the quality of education the Academy can provide. With this legislation, we aim to upgrade and modernize the USMMA’s facilities so that we may continue to produce best-in-class mariners and ensure the strength of our national sea power." 

"For more than 80 years, USMMA has trained Midshipmen and merchant mariners who have faithfully served our nation in times of war and peace. I am proud to serve on the Board of Visitors of this historically rich institution," said Rep. Suozzi. "After facing setbacks for years, the Merchant Marine Academy is now positioned for a major turnaround. This legislation for the rehabilitation, modernization, and construction of facilities and infrastructure will greatly contribute to ensuring that USMMA remains a premier institution for years to come."

"Graduates of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy play a critical role in supporting our nation’s military readiness and protecting U.S. economic interests around the world during times of peace," said Rep. Valadao. "Unfortunately, the USMMA campus has faced years of underinvestment and the result is deteriorating facilities and sub-standard living conditions for our midshipmen. We must ensure this historic Academy has the resources necessary to continue producing the finest maritime experts anywhere in the world. I’m proud to support the Full Speed Ahead Plan to make these overdue improvements at the Merchant Marine Academy so they have the resources they need to fulfill their critical mission."

"For over 30 years, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy campus has been deteriorating due to severe underinvestment compared to our other federal service academies," Rep. Malliotakis said. “I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation to provide the Merchant Marines with the funding necessary to make overdue modernization repairs and provide our mariners with high-quality training and educational resources.”

"The United States Merchant Academy is responsible for preparing young leaders for the U.S Armed Forces. It is paramount that they have the necessary resources they need to succeed. I’m proud to join Rep. Garbarino in implementing crucial funds to ensure this service academy can adequately support students in their service to our nation," Rep. Molinaro said. 

"The United States Merchant Marine Academy is one of our nation’s greatest educational institutions, and graduates of this esteemed academy help ensure that America maintains the world’s finest maritime force," said Rep. D’Esposito. "I am grateful to Congressman Andrew Garbarino for introducing crucial legislation to provide the United States Merchant Marine Academy with the federal resources it needs to continue educating the next generation of maritime professionals, and I am proud to co-sponsor and enthusiastically endorse this important bill."

"With New York being home to the Merchant Marine Academy, our state has an important role in naval civilian and military operations," said Rep. Lawler. "I’m proud to join Congressman Garbarino in introducing legislation that will ensure adequate funding for the rehabilitation, modernization, and construction of facilities and infrastructure at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. The Merchant Marines provide an essential service on our nation’s waters and I am proud to support them."

"This important bill allocates crucial funding to update the aging infrastructure of the Merchant Marine Academy, some of which dates back to the 1940s. These outdated facilities compromise the education and training of our future leaders in national security, marine transportation, and economic fields," said Rep. LaLota. "This investment is vital for ensuring that the academy continues to develop top-tier Merchant Marine Officers and leaders. By modernizing the Academy, we will not only enhance the quality of education but also bolster the academy's capacity to attract and train the brightest new students."

The full text of the bill can be found here