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House panel OKs bill to boost Army Corps funding

Jul 12, 2017 06:12 PM

The measure also calls for full use of estimated annual revenues from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund

The following is the text of a news release from the Waterways Council Inc. (WCI):

(WASHINGTON) — On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee, led by Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., and ranking member Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., approved by unanimous voice vote the FY 2018 Energy & Water Development (E&WD) and Related Agencies appropriations bill, significantly increasing funding in fiscal year 2018 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works Program above the administration’s budget proposal for FY 18. 

Highlights of the House bill are as follows:

• Overall funding for the Corps is $6.157 billion, which is $1.156 billion above the president’s FY 18 request and is an increase of $120 million above the FY 17 enacted level.

• The construction account received $1.697 billion or $677 million more than the president’s FY 18 request, but which is $179 million less than the FY 17 enacted level. At least $175 million will go toward funding for the Olmsted Locks and Dam Project on the Ohio River.

• The House bill calls for full use of estimated annual revenues from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) of at least $332.5 million, with the bill referencing, “the final program level will depend on project-specific allocations to be made by the Corps.”

• The Corps’ operations and maintenance (O&M) account received a record-level $3.519 billion, which is $419 million more than the administration’s request for FY 18 and is $370 million more than the FY 17 enacted level. $809 million was provided for inland O&M, which was $25 million above the FY 18 budget request.

• The investigations account received $105 million or $19 million above the FY 18 administration request, but $16 million less than the FY 17 enacted level.

• Funding of $1.34 billion from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) was included, which is $40 million more than the FY 17 enacted level, and hits the WRDA-set target.  

• The House bill directs the Corps to analyze recent information and to report back to the committee within 45 days regarding Asian carp proximity to the Great Lakes to determine if emergency action is needed.

WCI President Michael J. Toohey expressed gratitude to House leaders for these strong funding outcomes. “The bipartisan leadership of House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen and ranking member Nita Lowey, and House Energy & Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson and ranking member Marcy Kaptur to pass such a strong inland waterways funding bill that utilizes full use of Inland Waterways Trust Fund revenues is a true win for the nation’s inland waterways transportation system. These outcomes also strengthen America’s family farmers, steel producers, manufacturers, coal miners, and benefit U.S. consumers,” Toohey said.  

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