Bay County Chamber of Commerce

Bay County Chamber of Commerce

235 West 5th Street

Panama City, FL 32401


Phone: 850.785.5206

Fax: 850.763.6229





Key Senate panel approves bill to continue funding new Coast
May 18, 2017

According to officials in U.S. Senator Bill Nelson's (D-FL) Office, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee approved a Coast Guard spending plan Thursday that  would set aside $4 billion over the next two years for the Coast Guard to continue building new ships and aircrafts.


This measure, sponsored by Sen. Nelson, would provide the funding needed to continue construction of nearly two dozen new Coast Guard cutters being built by Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City.


Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee which oversees the Coast Guard, announced last October that the Panama City shipbuilder had been awarded a $10.5 billion contract to build the new Coast Guard  Offshore Patrol Cutters.


At a cost of around $484 million per ship, the contract was the largest the Coast Guard has ever awarded in its 227-year history and could bring 2,000 new jobs to the area.


“Replacing the Coast Guard’s aging cutters, many of which were built before man walked on the moon, has been a top priority,” Nelson said. “These ships are vital for search and rescue and law enforcement missions, and it’s imperative for both the country and the local economy that work stays on track.”


The spending plan approved today authorized a total of $18.9 billion for Coast Guard operations and acquisitions in 2018 and 2019. 


In addition to funding construction of the new cutters, the measure also included a provision sought by Nelson that directs the Secretary of Commerce to develop a plan for building a new facility in St. Petersburg, Florida that will serve as home port for a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel.


Florida, despite having the second longest coastline in the U.S., currently has no NOAA research vessels based in the state.  


If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact one of our staff members.




The mission of the Bay County Chamber of Commerce is to create superior value for all chamber members large and small, cultivate economic and personal development, promote and protect a competitive system of business, be a community leader while embracing Bay County’s opportunities and challenges.


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