WCI hails strong FY 2015 appropriation for Army Corps

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

(WASHINGTON) — The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 released last night provides strong funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' civil works mission for inland navigation. Emerging details from the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2015, are as follows:

— The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has fared well, with overall strong civil works program funding of $5.4 billion, which is $921.5 million above the administration’s request. 

— The construction account funding of $1.6 billion is an increase of $514.5 million above the administration's proposal, including $112 million in additional funding for Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) projects, to be allocated by the secretary of the Army. 

— Operations and maintenance (O&M) is funded at $2.9 billion, $308.5 million above the administration's request and $47.5 million above FY 2014 funding, including at least $42 million in additional funds for inland navigation.

— The Olmsted project is funded at $160 million at the 85 percent federal funds and 15 percent IWTF cost-share change enacted in WRRDA. The Lower Mon project near Pittsburgh is funded at at least $9 million.  

— No less than $1.1 billion is provided from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, a $100 million increase, for the benefit of the nation's ports and channels. In accordance with WRRDA 2014, there are specific funds set aside for inland ports and small ports for maintenance. 

— No funding is provided for construction of hydrologic separation measures related to Asian carp. 

"WCI is grateful for the work of the Appropriations committees to deliver a full year of funding for the Corps of Engineers' critically important civil works mission," said Mike Toohey, president and CEO of the Waterways Council Inc. "We are especially grateful for the increased investment in inland waterways that was contemplated with the passage of WRRDA 2014 legislation."

By Professional Mariner Staff