On August 9, the U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) released its “Policy Guidance on Implementation of Supplemental Appropriations in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.” The document provides implementation guidance for funds appropriated through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123) for flood-impacted communities.
The implementation guidance denotes 33 states and territories that are eligible for federal funding to initiate and complete flood related studies, mitigation and disaster relief plans, and infrastructure projects. These states have experienced two or more flood-related major natural disasters between 2014 and 2017. These states and territories include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.
As major owners of infrastructure – particularly water infrastructure – the Army Corps’ implementation guidance is a good first step to help counties mitigate existing flood risks while building the groundwork for subsequent allocations for future projects. Specifically, the implementation guidance provides directives for the following:
- Continuing Authorities Program (CAP): The Bipartisan Budget Act provides $50 million to the Army Corps’ CAP. CAP is a group of nine legislative authorities under which the Army Corps can plan, design and implement certain types of water resources projects, including food control, navigation improvements, ecosystem restoration and beach re-nourishment.
- Feasibility Studies: $3 million is provided for feasibility studies. While most Army Corps studies must be previously authorized to receive funding, the implementation guidance provides an exemption for Army Corps feasibility studies. Feasibility studies are predominantly implemented for flood and storm damage reduction projects.
- Construction: The Bipartisan Budget Act provides $15 billion in construction funding. This funding is used to construct, rehabilitate and repair damages to Army Corp projects caused by natural disasters.
- Long-term Flood and Storm Damage Reduction: States and territories impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria (Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands) will receive $10.4 billion of the $15 billion in construction funds. Projects eligible for this funding are predominantly geared toward flood and storm damage reduction.
NACo will continue to work with Congress and the Army Corps to ensure the needs of flood-impacted communities are being met and the proper resources are being directed to aid them.