Washington Waves
Washington Waves

Biden Requests $7.2 Billion For Corps Civil Works Program

Washington, D.C.–Inland waterways would receive $930 million in operation and maintenance work included in President Joe Biden’s budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2025.

With an emphasis on improving locks and dams, the budget explained the goal would be to keep supply chains flowing.

Biden’s budget also provides more than $1.7 billion in spending from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) to support navigation in federal channels that serve the nation’s coastal ports.

“The budget facilitates safe and efficient navigation at the nation’s coastal ports and along the highest-use inland waterways,” the document states.

Assistant Secretary of the Army-Civil Works Michael Connor said the president’s budget demonstrates the administration’s priorities to fund crucial infrastructure projects to boost the economy, protect people and property and restore key ecosystems.

For the civil works program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the budget proposal includes $7.2 billion.

According to figures cited by Connor, investigations would receive $124 million with $13.1 million from the Mississippi River and Tributaries account; construction, $2.037 billion with $29 million from the HMTF and $49.215 million from the Mississippi River and Tributaries account; operation and maintenance, $4.344 billion with $1.692 billion from HMTF and $182.5 million from the Mississippi River and Tributaries account; Mississippi River and Tributaries, $250 million with $5.465 million from the HMTF account.

According to the budget document, roughly $1.7 billion would be derived from the HMTF for eligible projects with an emphasis on operation and maintenance, including dredging of completed projects.

Connor explained the budget proposes revisions to “enable greater transparency and accountability in how these funds are spent.”

In his remarks, Connor highlighted the more than $3 billion for the study design, construction, and operation and maintenance of inland and coastal navigation projects to support commerce throughout the U.S. and $985 million from the funds derived from the HMTF to operate and maintain the top 50 coastal  ports, which handle roughly 90 percent of the nation’s  waterborne cargo.

Biden’s proposed budget funds two projects to completion in the construction account Iao Stream Flood Control, Maui, Hawaii (flood damage reduction riverine), and Pipestem Lake, North Dakota (flood damage reduction riverine).

Additionally, the budget funds 23 master plans and water control manual updates within the operation and maintenance account to completion and funds 22 studies, including dam safety studies and dredged material management plans, to completion in the investigations account.

With Republicans in power in the House and election year politics taking center stage, Biden’s budget proposal faces daunting odds and is considered DOA by some.

Partial Shutdown Averted

Just days before President Joe Biden unveiled his FY 2025 budget proposal, he signed into law a six-bill appropriations minibus to avoid a partial government shutdown March 8.

Previously approved by the House, H.R. 4366, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024 easily passed the Senate by a vote of 75 to 22 but with only hours to spare.

It provides fiscal year 2024 funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Maritime Administration under the Energy and Water and Transportation sections.

Other agencies funded by the minibus fall under Agriculture, Commerce, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

Congress now faces a March 22 deadline for passing a second six-bill minibus that includes funding for the remaining annual appropriations bills.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) cited the bipartisan momentum that helped get the first minibus through the legislative process and signed into law by the president.

Still, Schumer did not predict a smooth ride going forward.

“Passing the second group of bills isn’t going to be easy,” Schumer told reporters.

PIDP Availability

The Maritime Administration (MarAd) published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $450 million in Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) funds to modernize coastal and inland waterway ports.

“Ports are central to our supply chains, and when ports run smoothly, it helps keep prices down, shelves stocked and American farms and businesses selling their goods around the world,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.

MarAd is expected to announce on the PIDP webpage a series of webinars that describe PIDP/NOFO requirements and the application process.

Available on www.grants.gov, the NOFO can be viewed by searching on CFDA number 20.823 or Opportunity number MA-PID-24-001.

The deadline for applications is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 10.

For additional information, email PIDPGrants@dot.gov.