The following is a statement to Professional Mariner issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation:
David Matsuda, the U.S. Maritime Administrator, is announcing today that he is stepping down. Matsuda, who previously worked as the primary transportation counsel to Sen. Frank Lautenberg, was responsible for overseeing more than $1 billion in federal assistance to modernize over 100 of America's small shipyards, upgrade 25 U.S. ports, and build new vessels in the U.S. He helped secure the future of the 60-ship militarily-useful merchant fleet by leading the charge with an industry coalition on Capitol Hill to advocate passage of the agency's 10-year, $2 billion Maritime Security Program. During his three years as administrator, Matsuda tackled legacy agency challenges– including environmental cleanup of the California Suisun Bay fleet site and addressing ailing infrastructure at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy–and refocused the agency on future maritime challenges including use of alternative maritime fuels like liquefied natural gas and Panama Canal expansion impacts on U.S. ports. “Dave was a valuable member of my team,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “I’m particularly proud of his work to improve federal maritime education programs and revitalize the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy."