S

It’s still early. By May 22, the House had passed two of its 11 spending bills for 2007. Fiscal hawks won a point of order May 19 that sliced $507 million in “contingency” defense construction from the Military Quality of Life-VA bill. They may try similar moves on some of the remaining appropriations measures.

Karen Bachman, an Associated General Contractors’ government relations director, thinks better numbers will come out of the Senate, where no 2007 appropriations bills were out of subcommittee by late May. Bachman says the Senate has been “a little more generous” than the House toward infrastructure accounts. But ACEC’s Hall says, “We clearly have our work cut out for us in the Senate.”

In House action, Hall and others cite clean water state revolving funds’ 22% cut as notably severe. If the $688 million holds up, it would be about half of the $1.35-billion 2004 level.

For the Corps, the House committee on May 17 recommended a 6% reduction from 2006. The comparison excludes the $2.98 billion in 2006 supplemental funds the Corps has received, mainly to rebuild the Gulf Coast after last year’s hurricanes.

The National Waterways Conference hoped lawmakers would match or exceed the $5.3 billion Corps civil works got in 2006, says President Worth Hager. “They did come up with a lot of money for locks and dams,” including $110 million for Olmsted Locks and Dam on the Ohio River, Hager says. But she also points to “a number of other missions that were cut.”

House Appropriations Results, So Far
($million)

Program FY06 House FY 07 % Change
Water and Environment
DOE defense environmental cleanup
6,130
5,552*
-9
Corps of Engineers civil works
5,329**
4,984*
-6
  • Corps construction
  • 2,348**
    1,891*
    -19
    Bureau of Reclamation
    1,021
    901*
    -12
    EPA water infrastructure
    3,214
    3,006
    -6
  • Clean Water SRFs
  • 887
    688
    -22
  • Drinking water SRFs
  • 837
    842
    +1
    EPA Superfund
    1,242
    1,257
    +1
    DOD
    1,391
    1,418
    +2
    BUILDINGS
    DOD military family housing
    1,792**
    1,999
    +12
    DOD base realignment/closure
    1,742
    5,526
    +217
    DOD other military construction
    6,148**
    6,051
    -2
    Va major projects construction
    607**
    284
    -53
    Nat'l Parks construt./major maint.
    314**
    230
    -27

    *Committee approval only as of 5/22 
    **Excludes FY 2006 emergency supplemental funds 

    SOURCE: House Appropriations Committee, ENR

    pending bills for fiscal year 2007 are moving in the House, and the numbers for construction aren’t looking bright. So far, bills approved by the House or its appropriations committee call for cuts in the Corps of Engineers civil works program and Environmental Protection Agency water infrastructure. “It’s definitely going to be a tough year, to say the very least,” says Steve Hall, American Council of Engineering Companies’ vice president for government affairs.