Record Corps Funding Released in U.S. House Bill

file photo of the Port of Charleston
file photo of the Port of Charleston

By The Maritime Executive 05-16-2019 06:44:26

The U.S. House has released the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2020, providing $7.355 billion in annual funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

This builds on last year’s record appropriation of $7 billion for the Corps. The FY 2020 funding is 5.1 percent above the FY 2019 amount, and 52.4 percent above the President’s budget proposal of $4.827 billion. 

In the legislation, Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund projects would receive $1.697 billion, which is $147 million above the FY 2019 level, for an increase of $732 million above the President’s request and $100 million above the target set by the Water Resources Development Act of 2016. This amount equates to more than 95 percent of the estimated $1.782 billion in FY 2019 Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) revenues.

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has applauded the House Appropriations Committee, together with Energy and Water Subcommittee Chairwoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Ranking Member Mike Simpson (R-ID). 

AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle said: “Seaports are economic engines and vital freight gateways to the global marketplace for American framers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers, and serve as critical infrastructure for the U.S. military. The House mark would bring HMT spending to 95 percent of the estimated $1.782 billion FY 2019 HMT revenues. We look forward to reaching 100 percent use of the revenues as well as the use of the over $9 billion surplus in the harbor maintenance trust fund.  Full spending of all revenues and the port industry’s funding allocation agreement would provide the needed resources to bring our nation’s harbors to their authorized depths and widths, and address tax equity and fairness issues for all U.S. ports.”

The bill directs six new study starts and six new construction starts, with no designation of specific programs such as navigation. This bill also continues the prohibition on using any of these funds for work transferred from Corps functions to another federal agency.