Huge Bipartisan Appropriations Bill Passed

Image source: USACE

The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday overwhelmingly passed a sweeping FY 2020 budget (297 in favor and 120 opposed).

If the U.S. Senate passes the Bill on Thursday, and President Trump signs the legislation, then there will not be a government shutdown.

In the House approved domestic appropriations bill there is a section titled the “Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2020” which contains many dredging related projects.

Importantly, the House and Senate leaders agreed to a $377,650,000 regional dredging construction demonstration program as follows:

Regional Dredge Demonstration Program – To respond more effectively to critical national dredging requirements resulting from significant recurring storm events, in combination with routine annual dredging demands, the agreement directs the Corps to execute a multi-year dredging demonstration program within the Central Gulf Coast Region.

Key features of the program will explore innovative ways of executing dredging in a logical, sequenced manner, unconstrained by more traditional project-specific, account-specific, or single-year practices and seek efficiencies and cost savings by evaluating the region as a system to determine when combining work across multiple deep draft commercial navigation projects, across years, or across Construction and Operation and Maintenance accounts is appropriate.

By including the Mississippi River Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico (Southwest Pass) and other nearby Gulf Coast commercial navigation projects, the goals of the program are to include being more responsive to dredging demands within the region, while minimizing disruption to critical construction and maintenance dredging requirements enterprise-wide.

The agreement includes additional funding in the Operation and Maintenance account to support this demonstration program. Operation and Maintenance projects eligible for inclusion in the demonstration program may include Gulf of Mexico states between Florida and Texas, where appropriate. The agreement also includes Senate briefing and reporting requirements.

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