S. 576 would authorize the appropriation of $350 million in 2022 for the Coast Guard (USCG) to acquire an icebreaker vessel for use in the Great Lakes. The bill also would direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO), within one year of enactment, to review proposed standards for the Coast Guard’s icebreaking operations in the Great Lakes and provide recommendations to improve that program. Under the bill, the USCG would report to the Congress on its plans to implement GAO’s recommendations and would need to maintain a database on icebreaking activities in the Great Lakes.
Using information from the USCG, CBO expects it would take 11 years to analyze, design, and construct the icebreaker as specified under the bill and that most of the associated costs would occur in the second half of that period. On that basis, CBO estimates that acquiring the icebreaker would cost $102 million over the 2021‑2026 period and $248 million after 2026, assuming appropriation of the authorized amount.
Based on the cost of similar activities, CBO estimates that the costs to the USCG and GAO to implement the administrative and reporting requirements under the bill would total $1 million over the 2021‑2026 period; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
The costs of the legislation, detailed in Table 1, fall within budget functions 400 (transportation) and 800 (general government).