U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Backlog of Authorized Projects and Future of the Corps' Mission, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, United States Senate, One Hundred Sixth Congress, Second Session, May 16, 2000 [open pdf - 777KB]
From the opening statement of Hon. George V. Voinovich, U.S. Senator from the State of Ohio, "Today's hearing is intended to be a backdrop to our consideration of the Water Resource Development Act of 2000. Last week we had a full committee hearing on the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan which will be the cornerstone of this year's WRDA bill. On May 23, the subcommittee is scheduled to hold its initial WRDA hearing. However, I felt it was extremely important to have this hearing today prior to our first WRDA hearing to discuss a major point of concern that I have. I asserted this concern as the full committee hearings on the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan were held. As most of my colleagues know, Congress passes Biannual Water Resources Development Act with billions of dollars of new authorization for projects and programs and assumes the money will be available to build these projects. The stark reality is that the current levels of construction appropriations for the Corps water resource projects, we already have more water resources projects authorized for construction than we can complete on any efficient construction schedule. At the current low levels of construction appropriations, it would take 25 years to complete the active projects in the backlog without even considering additional project authorizations. Currently, the Corps has a backlog of over 500 active authorized projects with a Federal cost to complete these projects of about $38 billion. I want to emphasize the words 'active projects.' These are projects that have been recently funded, economically justified and supported by a non-Federal sponsor. If we included the outdated, unneeded authorized projects, the backlog figure would be almost 800 projects at a cost of $46 billion. Let me make this one point on the obsolete projects. We have made an excellent start in WRDA 86 to deauthorize these projects. We need to accelerate the process. The Administration has a proposal to speed up that deauthorization process and it merits our serious consideration. However, deauthorizing inactive and outdated projects will have relatively little impact on the backlog which is largely made up of active projects which have positive benefit-cost ratios and a willing, capable, non-Federal sponsor. Chart One, which we have here and the members of the committee have a copy before them, shows the general breakdown of the backlog by project purpose. You can see that it covers the full range of traditional Corps projects including navigation, flood control, shore protection projects, hydropower project rehabilitation, and recreation-plus projects and the major new emission area of environmental restoration." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Christopher S. Bond, Bob Graham, Frank R. Lautenberg, Craig Thomas, George V. Voinovich, Ron Brinson, Scott Faber, Tony B. MacDonald, William Parrish, Claudia Tornblom, Hans A. Van Winkle, Wayne Brunetti, George Grugett, Charles D. McCrary.
S. Hrg. 106-951; Senate Hearing 106-951
Government Printing Office, Congressional Hearings: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/chearings/index.html