Press Releases

WCI Applauds Passage of Strong FY 2019 Minibus Conference Report That Funds U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Full Use of Inland Waterways Trust Fund to Continue Five Navigation Projects

September 13, 2019   Debra Calhoun, SVP

(202) 765-2153

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Washington, DC – WCI praised Congress for passage today of the FY2019 Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 5895 that combines appropriations bills for the Legislative Branch, Military Construction and Veteran Affairs, and Energy & Water Development that funds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Conference Report was passed in the House today by a vote of 377 to 20, and in the Senate on September 12 by a vote of 92 to 5. The measure now heads to the President’s desk for his signature into law. This is the first time in many years that a number of appropriations bills have been finalized before the start of the new fiscal year. In the case of Energy & Water Appropriations, this means the Corps of Engineers will receive its full funding rather than operate from a Continuing Resolution that provides the previous fiscal year’s funding level.


FY19 appropriations funding levels for the Corps’ Civil Works program is $6.99 billion, up 46.08% from the Administration’s request of $4.79 billion. This is the fourth consecutive year that Congress has increased funding for the Corps.


FY19 appropriations funding for Operations & Maintenance (O&M) is a record $3.74 billion, up 24.67% from the Administration’s request of $3.00 billion.


Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) funding in FY19 is $326.5 million, up 832.86% from the Administration’s request of $35 million to fund only the Olmsted Locks and Dam project on the Ohio River.


The final conference report retained a Senate floor amendment offered by Senators John Thune (R- SD), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Charles Grassley (R- IA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) to change the cost-share at Chickamauga Lock on the Tennessee River to 85% Federal funding and 15% from the IWTF (from 50% Federal funding/50% IWTF funding). This change will allow full work plan allocations to the top five IWTF-supported projects. Specific project funding amounts will be released 60 days after enactment of the bill by the Corps in its FY19 work plan.


WCI is also very pleased with the House of Representatives passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 2018 bill by voice vote today, and anticipated passage in the Senate in the weeks ahead.


WCI President & CEO Mike Toohey said, “We are extremely grateful to the bipartisan leadership of Senate Energy & Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, and House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson and Ranking Member Marcy Kaptur. Thanks as well as go to House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Chairman Garret Graves and Ranking Member Grace Napolitano, as well as Senate Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Jim Inhofe and Ranking Member Ben Cardin for these strong FY19 funding outcomes that modernize our Nation’s inland waterways infrastructure.”


“We also express gratitude to the leadership of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby and Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy, and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Nita Lowey. And we also applaud the strong bipartisan efforts of Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso and Ranking Member Tom Carper, and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio for completing WRDA on the every two-year cycle,” Mr. Toohey continued.


“With the dedication of the Olmsted Locks and Dam project last month, strong funding for the Corps in fiscal year 2019, and a potential final WRDA bill in 2018, the inland waterways’ many beneficiaries and the U.S. economy have much to celebrate,” Mr. Toohey continued.


Waterways Council, Inc. is the national public policy organization advocating for a modern and well-maintained national system of ports and inland waterways. The group is supported by waterways carriers, shippers, port authorities, agriculture, labor and conservation organizations, shipping associations and waterways advocacy groups from all regions of the country.