BID TO HIKE COAST GUARD FUNDS GOES TO CONGRESS

BID TO HIKE COAST GUARD FUNDS GOES TO CONGRESS

President Reagan asked for an additional $60 million for the Coast Guard this year in a funding transfer package he sent to Congress.

If Congress approves the so-called reprogramming, the Coast Guard will be able to bring its routine search-and-rescue, drug and fisheries patrols up to last year's levels.The Coast Guard reduced those patrols by over 50 percent last month due to a $103 million shortfall in its $1.9 billion fiscal 1988 operating budget.

Coast Guard Commandant Paul A. Yost said 90 percent of the agency's drug seizures historically have come from routine patrols.

In addition to the patrol cutbacks, the agency took other measures to meet the shortfall, including facility closings and deferral of maintenance, overhauls and spare parts replacements. Those actions, which resulted in the loss of 1,100 jobs, would not be affected by the reprogrammed funds.

A White House statement said the Coast Guard is currently hampered in its

drug interdiction efforts because the Congress failed to appropriate sufficient funds.

The reprogramming package also includes funds for the Justice Department to cover expenses resulting from the Mariel Cuban prison riots, money for additional National Aeronautics and Space Administration personnel, and to cover increased demand for Small Business Administration disaster loans.

Transportation Department officials said the requested reprogramming will

shift money from other departmental accounts and thus will not increase overall DOT spending levels agreed to by Congress and the administration.

The $60 million for the Coast Guard will be offset by:

* $25.3 million from unobligated balances in Federal Highway Administration prior year projects.

* $12.4 million from a 2 percent reduction in current year Amtrak appropriations.

* $17.3 million from a 2 percent reduction in 1988 mass transit formula grants for operating assistance.

* $5 million from prior year Coast Guard research and development appropriations.

Transportation Secretary James Burnley said none of the transfers will have an adverse impact on transportation safety, and pointed out the reductions were spread across several programs to minimize the impact on any one program being reduced.

Coast Guard Commandant Paul A. Yost said the offsets should not be a surprise to Congress.