60 Days after Passage, the Chief of Engineers Submits Infrastructure Act Civil Works Spending Plan to Congress

LTG Scott A. Spellmon, Chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, oversaw the allocation of $17 billion from the Infrastructure Act to Civil Works projects for fiscal years 2022 and 2023.

Posted on January 18, 2022

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A DredgeWire exclusive
As DredgeWire reported in December:
 
“For each category of spending, 60 days after the signing of the Act (Jan. 14, 2022) the Chief of Engineers is directed to submit to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees a detailed spend plan that includes lists of studies and projects selected to be funded in fiscal years 2022 and 2023.”
 
Our special correspondent Judith Powers provides an update below.
 
By Judith Powers

On Friday, Jan. 14th, LTG Scott A. Spellmon, Chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), submitted a detailed spend and work plan to House and Senate Appropriations Committees for the $17 billion allocated to Civil Works projects by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

The plan, a list of the projects to be funded, will be posted online on Wednesday, Jan. 19th for public view, Gene Pawlik, of the USACE HQ Public Affairs office told DredgeWire.

Jan. 14th was the 60th day since the bill was signed, and the day on which the Chief of Engineers was directed to present the detailed spend plan to Congress for funds identified for fiscal year 2022, and to brief the Committees on an implementation plan for funding for fiscal year 2023.

President Joe Biden signed the Act on Nov. 15, 2021.

For FY 2023, the Chief of Engineers will provide a detailed spend plan for inclusion in the President’s budget for that year.

The general framework for posting the plan is by type of appropriation and organized by states in PDF format. Appropriation categories include:Investigations ($150,000,000), Construction ($11,615,000,000), Mississippi River and tributaries($808,000,000), Operations and Maintenance ($4,000,000,000), Regulatory Program ($160,000,000 – to remain available until Sept. 30, 2026), and Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies ($251,000,000).

Except for the Regulatory funding, the Act states that all funds will remain available until expended.

Language in the Act provides each category with detailed instructions and guidelines for projects to be funded.

Also under the purview of the Secretary of the Army and Chief of Engineers is a$40,000,000 account under Expenses providing emergency funds for resolution of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

A $75,000,000 Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Program Account provides funds for direct loans and loan guarantees for dam maintenance, upgrades, and safety, along with administrative expenses for the loan programs.

A final directive for the Secretary of the Army and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stipulates that they consider other factors in addition to the benefit-cost ratio when determining the economic benefits of projects for disadvantaged communities.

Beginning 120 days after passage of the Act – March 15th –the Chief of Engineers must begin submitting to the committees monthly reports on the allocation of funds for each category.

On Jan. 12, LTG Spellmon appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee to inform the members of the priorities of the Civil Works program. Since 2018, the USACE has received increased appropriations, most recently $5.711 billion from the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2022, and $17.089 billion from the IIJA for a total of well over $22 billion for Corps investments, he told the Committee.

“This funding provides the Army with a once-in-a-generation window of opportunity to deliver water resource infrastructure programs and projects that will positively impact the lives of our communities across the nation. Additionally, these funds will be used to maintain our existing Corps infrastructure to ensure that its key features remain operational while continuing to provide benefits to the nation,” he said.

“Our Tribal Nations Program enables the Army to partner with Federally recognized American Indian and Alaskan Native tribal governments to identify solutions to their water resources challenges, which will substantially benefit the people who live in Indian Country or in Alaska Native villages. The Corps reaffirms its commitment to engage in regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal officials in the development of water resources projects and on regulatory actions that have Tribal implications,” he said

“I am committed to ensuring that the Corps continues to identify the best ways to manage, develop, restore, and protect water resources in collaboration with sponsors and partners. Our goal is to achieve a high economic, environmental, and public safety return for the Nation, which will benefit all Americans,” Gen. Spellmon concluded.

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