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March 16, 2020
Army Corps of Engineers: FY2021 Appropriations
Congress generally funds the civil works activities of the
new construction projects and six new studies. The FY2021
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in annual Energy
request also seeks to limit funding to ongoing navigation
and Water Development appropriations acts. These
and flood risk reduction construction projects with benefit-
activities include the planning and construction of
cost ratios (BCRs) greater than 2.5 to 1 (i.e., benefits are at
authorized water resource projects and the operation and
least two and a half times project costs) or to projects that
maintenance of infrastructure and navigation improvements
address safety concerns.
managed by USACE (e.g., navigation channels). For
USACE civil works, President Trump requested $5.97
Figure 2. USACE Account Funding, FY2016-FY2020
billion for FY2021. As shown in Figure 1, Congress
and FY2021 Request
typically funds USACE above the President’s request. At
(nominal $, in billions)
times, Congress also provides USACE with supplemental
appropriations, typically for flood response and recovery
(see CRS In Focus IF11435, Supplemental Appropriations
for Army Corps Flood Response and Recovery
Figure 1. Annual USACE Funding, FY2007-FY2021
(nominal $, in billions)

Source: CRS.
Notes: Req = Budget request. ASA = Assistant Secretary of the
Army. Regulatory = Regulatory Program. FUSRAP = Formerly

Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program. FY2021 request renews a
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS).
proposal to transfer FUSRAP to the Department of Energy. FY2021
USACE Funding and FY2021 Request
request renews a proposal to fund certain expenses directly from
two navigation trust funds; the figure shows funding for FY2021 based
Unlike many of the federal agencies that support
on funding from traditional USACE accounts.
infrastructure investments by distributing federal funds to
nonfederal entities by formula or through competitive grant
Since the 112th Congress, moratorium policies have limited
programs, USACE directly commits funds for project
congressionally directed funding of site-specific projects
planning and construction. It uses most of its appropriations
(i.e., earmarks). Prior to the 112th Congress, Congress
for work on specific studies and projects authorized by
would direct funds to specific projects not in the budget
Congress. These activities are often cost shared with
request or increase funds for certain projects. Each year
nonfederal project sponsors or users.
since FY2011, Congress has appropriated additional
for categories of USACE work without identifying
The President’s FY2021 budget request prioritizes
specific projects. For example, in FY2020, Congress
maintaining the performance of existing infrastructure, as
provided $2.53 billion in additional funding for 26
reflected by the share of funds requested for operations and
categories of USACE activities (e.g., construction of flood
maintenance (i.e., the O&M account; see Figure 2), and
and storm damage reduction). After congressional
completing ongoing construction projects (i.e., the
enactment of the appropriations legislation and
Construction account). The request would initiate no new
accompanying report language on priorities and other
studies or construction projects (referred to as new starts).
guidance for use of the additional funding, the
In response to budget requests with no new starts in recent
Administration develops a work plan that reports on (1) the
years, Congress has required USACE to start a specified
selected new start studies and construction projects and (2)
number of new construction projects and new studies. For
the specific projects receiving additional funds.
example, in FY2020, Congress appropriated funds for six

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Selected FY2021 Topics
for construction of eight riverine flood risk reduction
Inland Waterway Funding
The Inland Waterway Trust Fund (IWTF) receives
Table 1. Selected USACE Project Investments
collections from a $0.29 per gallon fuel tax on commercial
vessels on designated federal waterways. In FY2020, the

FY2021 Request
IWTF is funding $131 million of a roughly estimated $1.0
billion in USACE inland waterway costs (see Table 1).
Est. $1.0 B, of which
$785 M, of which $0
Since 1986, Congress generally has required that
$131 M from IWTF
from IWTF
construction and major rehabilitation for inland waterways
Est. $2.9 B, of which
$1,624 B, of which
be paid for 50% from the General Fund and 50% from the
$1.6 B from HMTF
$1.015 B from HMTF
IWTF. Since FY2014, Congress has reduced the IWTF-
required portion of funds for certain projects, thereby
Est. $592 M, of which
$350 M, of which
increasing the funds that come from the General Fund for
$249 M for Everglades $260 M for Everglades
inland waterway construction by more than $400 million.
Flood Risk
Est. $2.0 B
$1.622 B
Of the roughly $1 billion of USACE work on waterway
studies, construction, and O&M in FY2020, $337 million is
for construction, of which $131 million is from the IWTF.
Source: CRS using information from various USACE sources and
The IWTF’s balance is estimated to be $55 million at the
the FY2021 budget request. Amounts include funds from all USACE
end of FY2020. IWTF receipts and interest in FY2021 are
accounts. Amounts do not include supplemental appropriations.
estimated at $114 million. The FY2021 request includes a
Some amounts are shown as estimates (Est.) because USACE has not
proposal to apply an annual user fee on inland waterway
released information on amounts by “business line” for FY2020.
commercial vessels. The fee would collect an estimated
Notes: B = billion. M = million. IWTF = Inland Waterway Trust
$180 million annually to be used for a portion of waterway
Fund. HMTF = Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.
construction and for 10% of waterway O&M. The FY2021
request did not include continued funding for ongoing
Continuing Authorities Programs
waterway construction projects.
In FY2020, Congress is funding nine Continuing
Authorities Programs (CAPs), at a total of $71.5 million,
Coastal Navigation Funding
for USACE to plan and construct projects of limited scope
The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) receives the
and cost. The President’s FY2021 request is $4 million for
collections from the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT),
four CAPs, and no funds are requested for five CAPs
which is applied principally to imported and domestic
funded in FY2020 (see CRS In Focus IF11106, Army Corps
waterborne cargo at coastal and Great Lakes ports.
of Engineers: Continuing Authorities Programs).
Congress has authorized that HMTF monies pay for certain
coastal navigation and harbor O&M activities. In FY2020,
Backlog and Alternative Financing and Delivery
the HMTF is funding more than half of USACE coastal
A persistent challenge for USACE is how to address its
navigation costs (see Table 1). Individual ports also act as
backlog of roughly $96 billion in authorized USACE
nonfederal sponsors for projects and contribute to the cost
construction activities. A question for policymakers is
of constructing most navigation channel improvements. The
whether—and, if so, how—to advance projects in the
HMTF is anticipated to have a $10 billion balance at the
backlog. The size of the backlog is determined in part by
end of FY2020. For most of the last 20 years, annual HMT
the level of appropriations and in part by additional project
collections and interest on the HMTF balance exceeded
authorizations. Nonfederal project sponsors and federal
annual spending on HMTF-eligible activities. HMTF
policymakers are exploring options for project financing
collections and interest in FY2021 are estimated at $1.91
and for sharing costs and responsibilities among project
billion; therefore, HMTF revenues in FY2021 are almost
sponsors and beneficiaries. Congress has authorized
$0.9 billion above the President’s request for FY2021
enhanced nonfederal and private participation in USACE
HMTF-eligible activities.
projects. Congress expanded authorities to reimburse or
credit nonfederal work on authorized projects. In addition
Ecosystem Restoration and Flood Risk Reduction
to post-construction reimbursement, Congress in 2014
USACE ecosystem restoration and flood risk reduction
authorized transferring USACE funds to nonfederal entities
projects generally have their construction costs shared 65%
for use on the construction of authorized projects. The
federal and 35% nonfederal, and costs of O&M, routine
FY2021 request proposes to use $250 million for these
repair, and rehabilitation are 100% nonfederal. For some
transfers, and it proposes using $250 million to accelerate
projects, Congress has used different cost-sharing
construction projects that have excess or advanced funding
arrangements. For example, most Everglades restoration
by nonfederal entities. The Administration’s FY2021
construction and O&M projects are cost shared 50%/50%.
request would not fund the USACE Water Infrastructure
For FY2021, the President requests $350 million for
Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, which
USACE aquatic ecosystem restoration efforts, of which
would provide water resource project loans and loan
$260 million is for Everglades restoration (see Table 1). In
guarantees. Although Congress has directed USACE to
FY2020, USACE’s Everglades activities totaled $249
develop the program’s structure, it is not operational.
million, around 40% of the total USACE restoration
Anna E. Normand, Analyst in Natural Resources Policy
funding for FY2020. The FY2021 request for flood risk
Nicole T. Carter, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy
reduction is $1.6 billion, of which $0.8 billion is requested

Army Corps of Engineers: FY2021 Appropriations

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