On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law. The legislation includes an historic infusion of $1.2 trillion to improve highway, rail, aviation, navigation, water, broadband and energy infrastructure.
The IIJA provides the Corps of Engineers with $17 billion for its civil works program, which includes flood control, navigation, water supply and environmental infrastructure. These funds are “on top of” and in addition to regular annual Congressional appropriations for the Corps.
The IIJA requires the Corps to release a spending distribution plan within 60 days of enactment. That distribution plan was announced by the White House January 19th, 2022.
Highlights include the following major Great Lakes construction projects:
- $479 million – to complete and close out the new Soo Lock project
- $37.3 million to complete and close out the major rehabilitation project for the existing Soo Locks
- $225.8 million – to complete planning, engineering & design and initiate construction of the Brandon Road Lock & Dam project in Illinois to control migration of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes
- An additional $84 million of operation and maintenance funding was provided to 13 Great Lakes harbor projects, which include dredging and breakwater repairs.
With regard to the Soo Lock project, the Biden Administration had budgeted $480 million for the project in FY2022. While Congress has yet to complete work on the FY2022 appropriation bills, the Biden Administration has committed to provide the project with the full $480 million even if Congress fails to enact the appropriation bills and the government operates under a year-long continuing resolution.
The $479 million announced today (from the IIJA) will provide the remaining funding needed to complete the new lock project – above and beyond the $480 million provided in FY2022.