Letter urges change in Army Corps project funding process

Letter urges change in Army Corps project funding process

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WMBF) - While focus is on the White House's budget, a group of lawmakers from South Carolina want budget director Mick Mulvaney to make sure local communities that look past federal money to help get projects done, don't get left behind.

Sen. Lindsey Graham sent a letter to Mulvaney dated May 19, asking him to reevaluate how his office calculates the benefit-cost ratio for Army Corps of Engineer programs.

The letter is signed by 18 other lawmakers, including Sen. Tim Scott and Representatives Tom Rice, Joe Wilson, Jim Clyburn, Jeff Duncan, Trey Gowdy and Mark Sanford. That's the entire South Carolina delegation.

Graham said the calculation is not giving credit to projects that ask for federal money, but also include other public or private funding.

He added it's those projects that will actually cost the federal government less money and will be completed more quickly.

"By advancing project funds or through private investment, non-federal sponsors are ensuring projects are completed in as expeditious a manner as possible and are not subject to delays caused by the federal budget process," he said in a statement released Monday.

The letter to Mulvaney says local communities are finding other ways to supplement the cost of projects, and those communities shouldn't have uncertainty over whether federal money will be provided as well.

In a statement released to WMBF News, Rep. Tom Rice said, "The Charleston Port supports one in 11 jobs in South Carolina, but it is a national asset as it serves the entire Southeast, not just South Carolina.  As such, the federal government should contribute to the cost of its dredging, not just South Carolina."

The letter concludes with a request for the budget office to “give equitable consideration to projects with an advanced PPA (Project Partnership Agreement) or P3 (public-private partnership) during consideration of the fiscal year 2018 budget request.”

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