Tony Munoz Calls President Obama Out on “Zero Bucks for Maritime”
You don’t often hear the words “Obama” and “maritime” in the same sentence. Maybe that’s because “Obamaritime” doesn’t quite have the right marketing ring. With the country’s long coast lines and hundreds of ports pumping trillions of dollars into the economy through the importing and exporting of ocean freight, the president of the United States must have a policy when it comes to maritime. Or does he?
There are some maritime experts and international trade professionals who say President Obama is overlooking this sector in his policies.
It’s no secret the popularity that won President Obama the election has not carried through his presidency. Many of his policies have met staunch opposition. Two key issues President Obama has had to face are healthcare and economic difficulties. His controversial “Obamacare” addressed the former and faced no shortage of criticism. Now the plan he announced in September to address the latter has aroused critics from, among other places, the cargo freight industry.
Tony Munoz, editor-in-chief of The Maritime Executive Magazine and MarEx e-Newsletter, wrote an article that calls President Obama out on the plan.
The president’s plan is a 447 billion dollar infrastructure plan meant to quickly pump money into the economy and create jobs. What has Tony Munoz and others maritime and ocean freight professionals upset? The U.S. maritime sector is not part of the plan.
According to Munoz’ article, approximately $50 billion is spent annually by the U.S. government on all forms of transportation, yet somehow the U.S. maritime sector receives nothing annually.
President Obama’s plan puts billions of dollars toward getting surface transportation projects off the ground, focusing on highways, rail, and air. The president’s plan actually dwarfs that annual number of $50 billion, putting over $70 billion toward highways, over $22 billion toward transit, close to $19 billion toward aviation, and over $8 billion toward railroad?
How much money toward maritime? $357.8 million to assist the military.
It’s not hard to see why Munoz scoffs, calling the amount toward maritime a pittance and says, “If a nation is judged by its policies and budgets, then the Obama Administration’s 2012 budget for the Maritime Administration shows an absolute disregard for the U.S. maritime sector.”
Munoz suggests that shifting focus to the maritime sector could actually give Obama’s administration a budget surplus to work with and help ease freeway congestion and urban pollution all while creating jobs.
Munoz does not fail to point out Obama’s transport infrastructure support increases the Department of Transportation’s 2012 by $129 billion or 12% and that this increase is actually 66% since fiscal year 2010. Considering a national debt in the trillions, creating jobs while spending less seems worth considering.
While the Senate GOP has blocked the plan, no focus toward maritime seems to be emerging. Of course, that doesn’t stop international business from carrying on, importing and exporting ocean freight and pumping money into the economy.
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