Trump Signs $147 Billion Infrastructure Act


By The Maritime Executive 09-23-2018 05:07:06

U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law a three-part package called a “minibus” at a signing ceremony in Las Vegas on Friday. The $147 billion act covers dredging activities in harbors and channels, infrastructure projects and beach and coastal restoration.   

The Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act includes a 2.4 percent increase in military construction spending and an 11 percent funding increase for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Civil Works Program. Funding for the Civil Works program is about $7 billion, approximately $2.2 billion more than previous levels. 

The ceremony marks the first time in over 10 years that the President has signed three spending bills into law before the beginning of the fiscal year. The Army Corps will have its budget at the start of the fiscal year (October 1), instead of waiting for continuing resolutions throughout a budget cycle to keep the agency funded.

The bill includes $1.54 billion for Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT)-funded work, which is 91 percent of the estimated fiscal 2018 HMT revenues of $1.687 billion and a 10 percent increase over fiscal 2018 HMT funding of $1.4 billion. As such, the bill continues the trend of hitting or exceeding the HMT funding targets, set in WRDA 2014, for the fifth year in a row. 

The bill also increases funding amounts and allows new starts in both the Corps of Engineers’ investigations and construction accounts. 

William P. Doyle, CEO and Executive Director of the Dredging Contractors of America, welcomed the bill. “It all starts with dredging—and America’s going to work building America,” Doyle concluded.

The bill funds Donor and Energy Transfer ports at $50 million, and the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has also welcomed the bill. Kurt Nagle, AAPA’s president and CEO, said earlier in the month: “Federal investments in navigation-related infrastructure are an essential and effective utilization of limited resources, paying dividends through increased trade and international competitiveness, sustainable job creation and more than $320 billion annually in federal, state and local tax revenues.”