PANAMA CITY, Fla. — As Panama City struggles to find workers, many wonder if the federal government is planning to keep the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter program going in the area.
In early August, the Senate Committee on Science, Commerce and Transportation passed a bill that would allow the Coast Guard to renegotiate its contract with Eastern Shipbuilding.
This was to account for the rising costs of the project, which increased tremendously after Hurricane Michael.
During his roundtable hearing on Wednesday, Senator Marco Rubio said the Cutter project is vital for the Coast Guard and the Panhandle community.
“The Cutter program isn’t just important for Northwest Florida, it’s important for America,” he said. “Our Coast Guard desperately needs that new cutter and the only one who can deliver it on time is Eastern. That’s why we’re so committed to making sure they get the flexibility they need to finish that project.”
Eastern Shipbuilding Group has been contracted to build 25 off-shore patrol cutters.
The project would create hundreds of jobs in Panama City.