Federal grant program provides $100 million to small shipyards

Shipyards received a boost this year from the federal government’s shipyard grant program.

The U.S. Maritime Administration’s small shipyard grant program went from $10 million in 2008 to $100 million this year as part of the federal government’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The program targets shipyards with fewer than 600 employees.

The new funds come from the Obama administration’s stimulus package that was approved earlier this year by Congress.

A total of 70 grants worth $98 million in shipyard improvements have been approved. Each grant pays a total of 75 percent of the costs associated with the upgrade, with the shipyard responsible for the other 25 percent.

Though some in the industry have been critical of the awards program, Matthew Paxton, president, Shipbuilders Council of America , said his organization supports the selection process.

“Overall, we were pleased with the grants,” he said. “We believe they were done fairly.”

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