Small Shipyard Grants On Track For Funding In FY22 Budget
Congress was expected to pass another short-term spending bill, or continuing resolution, by February 18, thus funding the federal government through March 11 under the 2021 fiscal year budget. While doing so will delay the next round of Small Shipyard Grant applications and awards, the program looks like a sure bet for the 2022 fiscal year budget.
“Funding for Small Shipyard Grants in the FY2022 budget looks very promising,” said Dave Matsuda, a former U.S. Maritime Administrator who now leads the Small Shipyard Grant Coalition. “This is the year in which President Biden requested funds for the program—the first time any president has done so. Proposals in the House and Senate both have included funding for the program, so all signs are pointing to a 2022 round of grants.”
Matsuda estimates Congress will appropriate $20 million for the Small Shipyard Grant program in the 2022 budget. Basic parameters and the application schedule will likely be the same as in years past, Matsuda said, meaning grant applications will be due within 60 days of the enactment of the law, with award recipients announced within 120 days of the enactment of the law.
Matsuda said small shipyards—defined last year as those with no more than 1,200 employees that construct, repair or reconfigure commercial vessels 40 feet long or greater, or those that build or repair non-commercial vessels 100 feet long or greater—should be working now to get ready for the application process.
“Planning, planning, planning,” he said. “Evaluate your equipment needs looking out two or three years. From this long-term plan, focus on items that best align with the grant program in terms of program selection criteria, budget and schedule. For a more detailed understanding, we posted a video [on the Small Shipyard Grant Coalition website] that better walks shipyards who are interested through the thought process.”
One likely change in this year’s grant, Matsuda said, will be considering each project’s impacts on climate change and on racial equity.
“We anticipate this because every grant notice that’s come from this administration seems to have included these factors,” he said. “As this will be the first Small Shipyard Grant Program notice issued under the Biden administration, we anticipate that it will carry through. These issue areas are priorities for the administration.”
Matsuda said one example of a project with an impact on climate change would be when shipyards have looked at capital projects to reduce air emissions, like replacing a diesel-powered travelift with an electric-powered one. According to Matsuda, shipyards might also look at their recruitment and training programs for ways to address racial equity.
“We recommend that shipyards applying for a grant consider the way they recruit for training programs, the vendors and suppliers they work with, and how they involve/engage underserved populations, as there is frequently a tie-in to racial equity factors,” he said.