Page 8: of Marine News Magazine (December 2020)

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Cheer the Year!

As we head toward the end of a very chaotic and COV- tenance (O&M), which has always been a fully Federal re-

ID-? lled 2020 and try to re? ect on the positives, the inland sponsibility. The Administration noted this new fee would waterways had a pretty good year overall. Waterways Coun- raise $1.8 billion over a decade.

cil, Inc. (WCI), whose members depend on a modern, ef- ? cient inland waterways system, offers this look back, with A welcome Corps FY20 work plan hopes ahead for the passage of a Water Resources Develop- Yet, also on February 10, the Corps of Engineers re- ment Act (WRDA) 2020 with our construction cost-share leased its FY20 work plan that allocated funds provided in adjustment priority in the lame duck session of Congress. the FY20 E&WD Appropriations bill for the Civil Works mission, and that news was extremely positive.

A disappointing FY21 budget request FY20 funding from the Construction account was

In February, the Trump Administration released its Fis- $336.76 million—representing full and ef? cient funding cal Year 2021 (FY21) budget that proposed a 22% cut to from the IWTF—was allocated to the Olmsted Locks and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works budget to Dam project ($63 million) to complete the project; the $5.967 billion, representing a $1.7 billion cut from the Lower Mon project ($111 million) to complete the proj- previous ? scal year’s (FY20) level enacted by Congress. ect; the Chickamauga Lock project ($101.7 million); and

Beyond the reduction to the Corps’ budget, most disap- the Kentucky Lock project ($61.06 million). pointing in the budget was a request for $0 from the Inland In other good news, $85.35 million was slated to initiate

Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) for construction of inland the deepening of the Mississippi River Ship Channel to 50 waterways lock projects. The FY20 Administration budget feet to facilitate Post-Panamax ships in the Gulf, which has requested $111 million for the Lower Mon project near just begun over the last month.

Pittsburgh, of which $55.5 million came from the IWTF The Corps’ Investigations account allocated $6.05 mil- that is funded through a diesel fuel tax on commercial op- lion toward continuing PED for the Three Rivers Project erators, with the other half provided by General Revenues. in Arkansas, and $7.7 million to continue PED for the

Later, Congress would appropriate more than three times Upper Ohio River Navigation Study in Pennsylvania.

that amount—$336.76 million—to fund four IWTF- Another bright spot was the allocation of $4.5 million funded projects in the FY20 Energy & Water Develop- for the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program ment (E&WD) appropriations bill. This enabled ef? cient (NESP) on the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Wa- funding for four projects currently under construction: terway System to continue PED ($3 million was provided

Kentucky Lock (Ohio River), Chickamauga Lock (Tennes- for navigation and $1.5 million for the environmental res- see River), and funding to completion for the Lower Mon toration component of NESP). This is the ? rst allocation

Project (Monongahela River) and Olmsted Locks and Dam of PED funds for NESP since 2012. NESP is a unique (Ohio River). So back to the FY21 request of $0 for con- program with a dual function to ensure ef? cient naviga- struction means that the two remaining priority projects tion infrastructure and to protect the eco-habitat of the would have to stop construction, workers sent home, the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS).

timeline to complete the projects would increase.

Also disappointing, the FY21 budget also proposed to House-passed robust FY21 appropriations an additional user fee to supplement existing revenue from On the appropriations front, on July 31, the House of the $0.29-per-gallon diesel fuel tax paid by commercial Representatives approved by a vote of 217-197 an FY21 operators, plus 10% of the cost of Operations and Main- minibus package that included funding for Energy and Water © Rick Lohre / Adobe Stock

December 2020 8 MN

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