The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) employs over 30,000 civilians and soldiers to deliver engineering services. This includes the Civil Works division tasked with overseeing the construction, operation, and maintenance of many critical infrastructure systems, including navigation, water supply, flood and storm protection, and aquatic ecosystem restoration projects. Over the years, Congress has authorized new construction activities and projects but failed to fully appropriate the necessary funding—leading to a $100 billion backlog in authorized construction projects.
Signed into law in November 2021, the bipartisan Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act provided about $17 billion to the USACE—more than twice USACE’s appropriated funding of $7.8 billion for civil works in fiscal year 2021—to help address its project backlog.
Of the IIJA funding, nearly 70% of the funds were designated to the Corps’ Construction account, the primary fund for new projects. Nearly 25% of the funds were directed to the Operation and Maintenance account, and another 5% were directed to an account for the Mississippi River and tributaries.
USACE recently announced the projects it plans to fund in fiscal year 2022 with money from IIJA, including over $7 billion in construction. See the map of which states received construction funding below.
Top priorities funded by the IIJA included flood risk management, waterway construction, and ecosystem restoration. For fiscal year 2022, USACE funded 22 new projects and plans to complete 19 construction projects and 15 feasibility studies. USACE also stated that, cumulatively, nearly $4 billion of its funding from IIJA will go towards enhancements of commercial navigation across coastal ports and inland waterways.
The largest USACE project funded in 2022 was $1.1 billion for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration program, an effort to restore, protect, and preserve water resources in central and southern Florida. The SFER includes the comprehensive Everglades restoration program, which is the most expansive environmental restoration project in world history, according to USACE.
Separate from the IIJA, the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, passed in late September to provide continuing appropriations for federal agencies, included an additional $5.7 billion for USACE projects. The bill included $3 billion for flood and storm damage reduction, including $1.5 billion to states affected by Hurricane Ida. For fiscal year 2022, USACE’s work plan for this legislation’s funds included $3 billion in construction.
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