Infrastrucure Bill: $2.5B Earmarked for Inland Waterways Construction and Rehab
By a vote of 228 to 206, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Senate-passed H.R. 3684, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (the bi-partisan Infrastructure Package). The bill is headed to the President to be signed into law.
For the nation’s inland waterways system, a historic $2.5 billion of 100% federal funding is provided for construction and major rehabilitation inland waterways projects. In addition, Capital Investment Strategy (CIS) navigation projects will be given priority. When $2.5 billion is coupled with annual appropriations over the next five years, two-thirds of the CIS portfolio could potentially be funded to completion.
“WCI is grateful that the infrastructure bill has passed and is looking forward to working with Congressional leaders and the Administration to implement the 2020 Capital Investment Strategy to significantly modernize the U.S. Inland Waterways Transportation System,” said Tracy Zea, WCI President/CEO.
This provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernize the nation’s inland waterways transportation system to provide energy security, increase global competitiveness, and further improve our environmental footprint.
Project-specific funding will be allocated in a detailed spend plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Chief of Engineers and must be submitted to the House and Senate not later than 60 days after enactment. Starting not later than 120 days after enactment of the bill, the Chief of Engineers shall provide a monthly report to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate, detailing the allocation and obligation of funds, and new construction projects selected to be initiated.
In other good news, the Corps’ Operations and Maintenance account for all business line items within its Civil Works mission will receive $4 billion in the infrastructure bill. Inland waterways projects and dredging are eligible to compete for funding to be allocated in a Corps spend plan.