|Higgins Selected to Negotiate Funding and Regulations for Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation|
|November 17, 2005|
Washington, DC—Speaker Dennis Hastert has appointed Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) to the Coast Guard Authorization conference committee. As a member of the conference committee, Higgins will represent the House of Representatives in negotiations with the Senate on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act, a bill that will determine Coast Guard funding and maritime transportation regulations. The Coast Guard Authorization conference committee meets today to resolve the differences between the House of Representatives and Senate versions of the bill.
“I am honored to serve as a member of the Coast Guard Authorization conference committee and help to negotiate this crucial bill,” said Congressman Higgins. “As a member of the House Transportation Committee, I am able to focus on the needs of Western New Yorkers. Improving transportation infrastructure, on both land and water, will open the gates of economic growth in Buffalo and Western New York.”
The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act, H.R.889, provides $8.7 billion for the Coast Guard in fiscal year 2006. This amount includes $5.6 billion for operations and maintenance and $1.9 to replace aging vessels, instruments and aircrafts.
The House of Representatives version of the bill also contains a provision to offer stability to the Great Lakes shipping industry by requiring the Coast Guard to annually review and adjust pilotage rates for the Great Lakes, due to ever-changing public interest and costs of services. Recently, years have lapsed between rate adjustments, causing uncertainty and large rate increases.