The U.S. Senate yesterday approved the final conference agreement to the FY19 Minibus appropriations package (H.R. 5895) that includes funding for Energy and Water Development, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Legislative Branch.
Advanced by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, the bill includes funding for critical infrastructure projects administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, advanced research managed by the Department of Energy, and critical provisions for Florida’s military and veterans.
Rubio provisions in the FY19 Minibus appropriations package (H.R. 5895) include:
Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation:
Full funding of the President’s Budget request (Rubio successfully secured the availability of all additional funding necessary to expedite completion of the Dike by 2022 in the disaster supplemental package).
Includes language supporting long-standing congressional direction that the Corps may not require funding in excess of legally required costs shares for studies and project as a criterion for funding decisions, rejecting the initial budget request which would have only made funds available for HHD if the State of Florida commits certain funds.
- Full funding of the President’s Budget request ($67.5 million) and makes available up to $50 million in additional funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in advancing critical construction for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration project;
- Makes available up to $45 million in additional funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in operating, maintaining, and repairing Everglades restoration infrastructure, including potential reimbursements for federal costs assumed by the South Florida Water Management District and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida;
- Recognizes the importance of restoring America’s Everglades and urges the Corps to expedite validation, preconstruction, engineering, and design work for the Central Everglades Planning Project, and to begin construction as soon as practicable to complement the South Florida Water Management District’s efforts.
- Direction to the Corps to ensure accuracy and transparency of budget justifications for South Florida Ecosystem Restoration projects for FY19;
- Support for the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands project and consideration for the use of reclaimed water to augment the project’s ecosystem restoration benefits to coastal wetlands and Biscayne Bay;
- Support for the Indian River Lagoon-South project and expediting design work on critical reservoirs to collect and clean Lake Okeechobee discharges and local runoff before release into the Indian River Lagoon.
Funding for Florida Ports and Waterways:
Makes available up to $500.25 million in additional construction funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in expanding Florida’s coastal and deep draft navigation seaports;
Provides $1.5 billion from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for the operation and maintenance of America’s infrastructure in support of waterborne trade and commerce, including:
- JAXPORT- $6.56 million;
- Port Canaveral- $4.149 million;
- Port Everglades- $5.85 million;
- Port Manatee- $3.845 million;
- Port Miami- $6.07 million + additional Donor Port funding;
- Port of Palm Beach- $2.785 million;
- Port Panama City- $55,000;
- Port Pensacola- $1.39 million;
- Port Tampa Bay- $980,000.
Makes available up to $50 million in additional funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in maintaining Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf Intracoastal Waterways;
Makes available up to $40 million in additional funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in maintaining Florida’s inland waterways including the Okeechobee Waterway:
- Beach renourishment: Makes available up to $55 million in additional construction funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in renourishing degraded beaches;
- Shoreline Protection: Makes available up to $8 million in additional funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in restoring critical seawall infrastructure including at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach;
- Environmental Infrastructure: Makes available up to $77 million in additional funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in improving wastewater collection and treatment in the Florida Keys and Charlotte County;
- Caño Martin Peña Ecosystem Restoration Project: Encourages the Corps to include appropriate funding in future budget requests to minimize project planning and construction delays of this critical project in San Juan, Puerto Rico.