Sens. Baldwin and Cassidy pledge support for small shipyards

Sen. Tammy Baldwin joined Sen. Bill Cassidy's bipartisan call for funding support in the Small Shipyard Grant Program, in order to help shipyards in her state of Wisconsin and nationwide, her office announced Wednesday.

In Baldwin's announcement, she states that small shipyards allow over 40,000 commercial ships to receive regular maintenance and that they support marine transportation overall. 

“This important program helps to modernize America’s small shipyards and repair facilities, while spurring American manufacturing," Baldwin and Cassidy said in a joint letter. "Small shipyards on U.S. coasts and inland waterways are often considered the lifeblood of the maritime community. Funding this program is a win for America’s small shipyards, equipment manufacturers, the workboat fleet and jobs in all of these industries.”

Shipyard officials from Marine Travelift Inc. and Fraser Shipyards -- both based in Wisconsin -- applauded the senators on their support for small shipyards.

The program has not seen funding since 2013. Several companies in the state had been awarded grants from the program in the past that allowed equipment acquisition, including cranes and welding tools. 

"There are many facets of sustaining a shipyard business that are challenging," Tom Curelli, director of operations at Fraser, said. "The small shipyard grant program helps small shipyards maintain capacity, diversity and competitive pricing.”