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tugboat and barge Heather Nachtmann
A tugboat and barge in the McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.

Water transportation funding bill passes

Year-end spending package includes money for Corps of Engineers, Chickamauga Lock and Three Rivers Project.

The Energy and Water Development spending bill delivered as a short-term Continuing Resolution was about to expire.

The House passed the year-end spending package by a vote of 297-120 on Dec. 17 and the Senate passed the legislation by a vote of 71-23 on Dec. 19. President Trump signed the funding bill on Dec. 20.

What's in the bill?

  • The Energy and Water Development Spending Bill funds the civil works program of the Army Corp of Engineers at $7.65 billion, $652 million above the FY 2019 level and $2.69 billion above the budget request.
  • The construction-cost share for Chickamauga Lock is 65% for general revenue funding and 35% for the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (compared to the traditional 50/50 split), with the aim of reducing final project costs and speeding completion on current construction. In addition, the bill will fully use the estimated receipts and previous year’s revenues of IWTF, resulting in a $317 million investment level for FY 2020.
  • Investigations are funded at $151 million—a $26 million increase above the FY 2019 level and $74 million above the request—and enable funding for studies in the 2020 USACE work plan. Construction will be funded at $2.68 billion—a $498 million increase above the FY 2019 level and $1.37 billion above the request.
  • Operation and Maintenance are funded at $3.79 billion—an increase of $1.86 billion above the request.
  • The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund projects will receive $1.63 billion—an increase of $665 million above the request.
  • Mississippi Rivers and Tributaries will receive $375 million.
  • $1.5 million for Pre-Construction Engineering Design for the Three Rivers Project in Arkansas.
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