WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) hosted Congressman Sam Graves (R-MO), Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I), Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Ranking Member of T&I’s subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment, and Congressman Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Ranking Member of T&I’s subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation in Portsmouth, Virginia. The Congressional Delegation (CODEL) visited US Coast Guard Base Portsmouth and the Port of Virginia. The purpose of this CODEL was to better inform Members of Congress about the commercial importance the Port plays in the Commonwealth, Country, and globally and the vital services the Coast Guard provides in Maritime Commerce.
“I was thrilled to have my colleagues in Virginia to see the vital role the Port of Virginia plays in global commerce as well as the security services our amazing US Coast Guard servicemembers provide,” said Wittman. “Virginia is continuing to expand its shipping presence and will continue to be a conduit of trade within and outside of the United States. We must move forward with projects to both widen and deepen the Port to not only allow for larger container ships into the International Gateway, but to accommodate two-way traffic with Navy and Coast Guard vessels – increasing our national security capabilities. I want to thank my colleagues – Ranking Members Graves, Westerman, and Gibbs – for their work on the committee and their continued support of the Coast Guard and the Port of Virginia.”
“I appreciate Congressman Wittman for hosting Committee leaders at critical transportation facilities in his district,” said Ranking Member Graves. “This year, the Committee is working on legislation to authorize improvements to the Nation’s ports and waterways, as well as a bill to provide the Coast Guard with the resources they need to carry out their missions. This opportunity to discuss these issues with Rob, employees of the Port, and some of the Coast Guard servicemembers while at the Port of Virginia and Coast Guard Base Portsmouth will help our committee do that important work, and we look forward to working with Rob on these and other issues as we move forward.”
“Ports have always played a huge role in U.S. commerce and trade. Each coastal state has their own unique port system, and interior states depend on this infrastructure to export goods around the world. The ongoing project to widen and deepen the port will significantly expand the amount of goods that can pass through, including some coming from as far away as Arkansas. Thank you to Rep. Wittman for taking time to show us around the port, as well as to the Coast Guard for briefing us on their role in the region,” said Ranking Member Westerman.
“Thank you to Congressman Wittman, the Port of Virginia, and the Coast Guard for hosting me and my colleagues today,” said Ranking Member Gibbs. “The Port of Virginia is fulfilling a vital function in global trade. As they demonstrated this afternoon, the Coast Guard plays an important role within the intersection of commerce and national security at the Port. As the Port expands its infrastructure and capabilities, Coast Guard personnel will work closely with the Port to ensure international maritime commerce is conducted safely. As with my home state’s Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland, the men and women of the Coast Guard here work hard every day to accomplish their missions.”
During the CODEL, the members boarded the USCGV Rollin Fritch, a fast response cutter, where they viewed a Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT) Underway Demonstration and received a brief about MSRT authorities and capabilities. The members then received a brief on the Port of Virginia and the Coast Guard’s role in maritime commerce in the region. Finally, the members toured the Virginia International Gateway at the Port of Virginia.