Update on Army Corps of Engineers' Planning and Designing Time for Water Resources Projects

RCED-84-16: Published: Jan 4, 1984. Publicly Released: Jan 4, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reported on the time required to plan and design the Army Corps of Engineers' water resources projects.

GAO found that the authorization and appropriation process for water resources projects has remained essentially unchanged since 1978. In that year, GAO reported that it took an average of 25.9 years for the Corps' flood control projects to progress from initial survey authorization to start of construction. Currently, this process averages 29.4 years. The Corps has a backlog of water resources projects because many more projects have been authorized for preconstruction planning and engineering than can be sufficiently funded under current water resources development spending levels. The 1978 report presented options to the existing authorization and appropriation process which could eliminate much of the time spent awaiting authorization or funding of feasibility studies and project construction. In a January 1983 report, GAO presented options to lessen the backlog problem and provide for more timely completion of projects, including increasing the annual water project funding and requiring the non-Federal sector to contribute a more substantial portion of project costs. Bills pending before Congress would also affect the Corps' water projects by providing for cost-sharing, increased cost recovery for operating, maintaining, and constructing waterways, and deauthorization of some projects.

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