Highest Funding for Corps, Navigation Programs
WCI today applauded the work of negotiators to reach a final agreement last night for an FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill that funds the Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program under the Energy & Water Development Appropriations bill. The full House is expected to vote on a final agreement later this week.
FY ‘16 funding for the Corps’ Civil Works mission is $5.99 billion, a 27% increase above the President’s budget request of $4.732 billion.
Highlights of the bill include:
--Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF)-supported projects are meant to receive record-level funding of $405.6 million for priority navigation projects in FY ’16, a 75% increase over the Administration’s request of $232 million.
--Operations & Maintenance (O&M) was increased to $3.137 billion or 15.8% above the initial budget request of $2.710 billion.
--Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) is $1.25 billion, up 31% above the President’s request of just $915 million.
--For the General Investigations account, $121 million was allocated, up 25% from the President’s request of $97 million.
--On the Navigation Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP), Statement of Manager language makes clear that “the next appropriate step is to complete PED” (Pre-Construction Engineering and Design) and requires monthly briefings for the committees on any economic update or re-analysis that is done for the project. WCI advocated for $10 million for PED for NESP. Negotiators provided $5 million for General Investigations for inland navigation. The Corps will decide where the funding will be allocated.
WCI President/CEO Mike Toohey said, “Some things are worth the wait and this is certainly true for the FY ’16 Omnibus Appropriations agreement that provides record-level funding for the Corps’ Civil Works mission. The $1.3 billion above the Administration’s request for the Corps’ overall funding will help to modernize our nation’s waterways infrastructure, facilitate exports, create jobs, make more efficient the transportation supply chain, and increase American competitiveness in world markets,” he continued.