Industry Seeks FY16 Spending Boost for Corps Civil Works
As congressional appropriators continue their work on spending bills for fiscal year 2016, industry groups are pushing for an increase in the Army Corps of Engineers civil works budget.
A coalition including the American Association of Port Authorities, Waterways Council Inc. (WCI) and others wrote key appropriators on March 12, requesting $2.76 billion in 2016 for the Corps navigation program, up 17% from 2015. To help reach that goal, the coalition wants Congress to appropriate $1.25 billion in Harbor Maintenance Tax revenue for FY16, the goal set in 2014's Water Resources Reform and Development Act.
WCI CEO Mike Toohey told reporters at a March 11 briefing that 60% of Corps locks exceed their design lives. He said industry wants Congress to lift FY16 Inland Waterways Trust Fund infrastructure spending 28%, to $360 million. Last year's 9¢-per-gallon barge-fuel tax hike will add at least $70 million a year to the fund.