WASHINGTON— U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. and David Vitter applauded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Fiscal Year 2016 Work Plan that included increased funding for additional Louisiana projects and priorities. The Louisiana delegation has been pushing for this increase in funding since January 2015 to fund projects that were authorized in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014.
“Louisiana is a resource for American energy and manufacturing needs—and in turn we rely on the Army Corps to help provide flood protection for families, strong harbors for trade and coastal restoration for our economy. The Senate Appropriations Committee allocated additional funding for the Corps—it’s good to see it being spent in our state, acknowledging that our state’s needs are important to the nation,” said Dr. Cassidy.
“Louisiana’s ports and waterways are at the core of our state’s economic prosperity, which is why ensuring their safety and efficiency is so vitally important,” said Sen. Vitter. “We’ve been pushing hard to increase the funding for these important projects so we can strengthen our defense against destructive storms and flooding, protecting Louisiana families and businesses.”
Dr. Cassidy sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee and helped secure additional funding in the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bills for Investigations, Operation & Maintenance, Construction and Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) projects. While in the U.S. House of Representatives, Dr. Cassidy led in accelerating flood protection projects that were included in the passage of the WRRDA. He also joined the Louisiana delegation in writing the Army Corps to request funding prioritization for these projects.
Sen. Vitter was the original author of WRRDA 2014, which included several reforms to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to ensure our ports and waterways would receive additional discretionary funding.
In January 2015, Sen. Vitter led the Louisiana delegation on four specific letters requesting FY16 Omnibus discretionary funding for Corps projects in Louisiana.
Sen. Vitter also included language in WRRDA 2014 that provides funding for a program that allows eligible ports to maintain infrastructure, address competiveness through the expansion of eligible uses at our nation’s largest ports, and reduce cargo diversion to non-U.S. gateways. The legislation established a rebate program for importers and shippers utilizing ports that receive minimal return from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. That program includes five Louisiana ports in the nation’s top 15 ports — the Port of Lake Charles, Port of New Orleans, Port of Plaquemines, Port of Baton Rouge, and the nation’s #1 port, the Port of South Louisiana.
The following Louisiana projects received funding:
1) $350,00 for West Pearl River. LA for a study to deauthorize and disposal of the navigation project.
1) $1,000,000 for Ascension Parish Environmental Infrastructure to enable the Parish to reroute sanitary sewer overflow and for pump station rehabilitation.
2) $4,000,000 for Comite River, LA to design modifications of Hwy. 61 Bridge; complete plans and specifications for the McHugh Road Bridge and Control Structure and the Cypress Bayou Drop Structure.
3) $8,379,000 for the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway LA; $5,379,000 of which is for mitigation and the remaining $3 million for riverfront development.
14) $1,250,000 for East Baton Rouge Parish Environmental Infrastructure for Highland Road Pump Station Improvements, LaSalle Park Drive and South Darryl Drive Pump Station Improvements.
Operation and Maintenance funding
1) An additional $250,000 for Bayou Bodcau Reservoir, LA; bringing total FY 2016 spending to $1,471,000 for the repair of slides.
2) An additional $165,000 for Caddo Lake, LA; bringing total FY 2016 spending to $374,000 to repair concrete in stilling basin.
3) An additional $10,300,000 for Calcasieu River and Pass, LA; bringing total FY 2016 spending to $30,386,000 to perform maintenance dredging of Mile 17-29 (at 40×400) and Devils Elbow.
4) An additional $7,200,000 for the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, LA; bringing total FY 2016 spending to $26,881,000 to Dewater Inner harbor Navigation Channel Lock for installation of new gates, valve packing and machinery.
5) An additional $6,000,000 for J. Bennett Johnston Waterway, LA; bringing total FY 2016 spending to $14,782,000 to implement replacement of dike markers, perform dredging flood sedimentation, Locks and Dams 1-5 equipment repair and replacement, repair of 5 tainter gates, scour repair, stone repair for CI for Pool 5 – A.R. Teague Parkway, and repair levee seepage and levee slides in Bossier Parish.
6) An additional $1,185,000 for Lake Providence Harbor, LA; bringing total FY 2016 spending to $1,199,000 to perform annual maintenance dredging.
7) An additional $146,000 for Madison Parish Port, LA; bringing total FY 2016 spending to $150,000 to perform annual maintenance dredging.
8) An additional $40,000,000 for Mississippi River, Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico, LA; bringing total FY 2016 spending to $125,866,000 for the Flood Response – perform additional dredging Southwest Pass (SWP), foreshore rock protection, perform maintenance hopper dredging of Mississippi River SWP #5 Phase 2.
O&M Energy Transfer Ports funding
1) $548,000 to Calcasieu River and Pass, LA for Energy Transfer Port funding which will provide dredging the Port of Lake Charles berthing areas.
2) Total funding of $1,927,000 for Mississippi River, Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico, LA for Energy Transfer Port funding for the Port of Baton Rouge, the Port of New Orleans, the Port of Plaquemines Parish and the Port of South Louisiana which will provide dredging for improved navigational access to the Ports.
Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) funding
1) An additional $4.575 million for Atchafalaya Basin, LA; bringing total FY 2016 spending to $16,660,000 to operate and maintain navigation features, conduct inspections, dredge Tidewater point, Berwick Bay Harbor, Berwick Lock and Three Rivers; Perform timber guide wall repairs to Bayou Sorrell and Bayou Bouef Lock. In addition, funds would also be used to operate and maintain flood control structures, conduct inspections, perform levee slide repairs as well as New Year’s Flood Fight and Response.
2) An additional $120,000 million for Atchafalaya Basin Floodway System, LA; bringing total FY 2016 spending to $2,009,000 to operate and maintain 28,500 acres of fee-owned property for visitor assistance; including funding for janitorial and mowing maintenance contracts; water safety patrols; inspect levees and easements; operate recreation features; and protect natural resources.
3) An additional $1,300,000 for Bonnet Carre, LA; bringing total FY 2016 spending to $4,209,000 to operate and maintain project; including operation of spillway during the New Year’s Flood Fight and Response; manage and maintain natural resources including bottomland hard and swamp reforestation; create new parking areas and re-open North Main Road.
4) An additional $300,000 for the Inspection of Completed Works in LA; bringing total FY 2016 spending to $1,699,000 to perform inspections and monitoring of the flood control structures; flood control permitting, and levee certification as well as collect and analyze geotechnical information to verify levee integrity in support of the Levee Safety Program.
5) An additional $250,000 for Old River, LA; bringing total FY 2016 to $9,496,000 to perform reconnaissance surveys, real estate management, instrumentation and data gathering; dredge Forebay and Tailbay channel; operate recreation functions and natural resource management; replace crane cable in addition to providing management of wildlife and critical habitat on fee-owned lands and provide recreation services at the Old River Lock campground.