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American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Funds Enable USACE to Construct, Improve

When President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 into law on Feb. 17, 2009, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began a 19-month effort to meet the law’s requirement to obligate ARRA funding, with limited exceptions, by Sept. 30, 2010.

The Kentucky Lock Addition Project received $72.4 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. The project included $55.9 million for upstream lock monoliths construction; $9.8 million for superstructures construction; and $6.7 million for lock design. Monoliths are huge concrete sections of a lock’s walls. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo, Nashville District, Wendy Whittemore

By the end of September 2010, USACE had obligated $4.437 billion of the $4.6 billion (96 percent) of its Civil Works ARRA appropriation; $2.568 billion of the $2.852 billion (90 percent) received for Military Programs, with 100 percent of authorized projects awarded; and $531 million of $535 million (99.3 percent) toward the International and Interagency Services Program.

The Civil Works ARRA project list provided a wide geographic distribution of selected projects to spread employment and other economic benefits across the United States and across Civil Works programs to provide the nation with project benefits related to inland and coastal navigation, the environment, flood risk management, hydropower, recreation, and more.

ARRA funding was used to purchase much-needed equipment and replace structures’ guide walls at the Catfish Point Control Structure (CPCS) in southwest Louisiana. Built in 1951, the CPCS is designed to release floodwater through Grand Lake and restrict salt intrusion from tidal inflow in the Mermentau River Basin, yet still allow the flow of commercial and recreational marine traffic between the lake and the river. Pictured here is the first barge to pass through the repaired navigation structure on Aug. 25, 2010. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo, New Orleans District

Military-funded ARRA project lists were developed by the Department of Defense (DoD) and provided to all services for execution. USACE, as the DoD construction agent, worked closely with DoD, Army, and Air Force program managers to refine project lists and timelines for project awards and construction schedules. Military Programs ARRA execution provides service members and their families with critical new facilities and modernization and repair of existing facilities.

In the Interagency and International Services Program, USACE received more than $550 million funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies. These funds will enable USACE’s interagency partners to operate new land ports of entry that secure borders, accelerate cleanup of hazardous waste, and provide modern medical facilities for military veterans.

This article first appeared in the 2011-2012 edition of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Building Strong®, Serving the Nation and the Armed Forces publication.