Pact to End 10-Year Dry Spell on Bill for New Water Projects

Associated Press

Local governments and businesses will have to pay part of the cost of all future Army Corps of Engineers water projects under an agreement between Senate Republicans and the Reagan Administration, Senate leaders announced Friday.

The agreement, which would end years of bickering, removed the threat that President Reagan would veto the $14-billion fiscal 1985 supplemental appropriations bill that included money for a number of new projects, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) said.

"After 10 years of feuding in the Congress on water policy, we're finally going to have an omnibus bill which will provide for badly needed new water resources across the nation," Sen. James Abdnor (R-S.D.) said.

Arguments On Funding

Congress has not passed a bill authorizing new Corps of Engineers water projects for 10 years because of arguments over who should pay for them.

Under the agreement reached Thursday but outlined in statements put into the Congressional Record on Friday, the Senate will act next month on a bill that would specify percentages of project costs that local interests would pay.

That share would range from between 25% and 35% for flood control projects to 50% or more for recreation and beach erosion control. The cost of expensive harbor-dredging projects would be split equally between the federal and non-federal sources.

Local Interests to Pay

Hydroelectric and municipal and industrial water supply works would be 100% locally funded.

The local interests that would pay the share of the costs would include local governments, businesses and regional agencies.

According to the statements for the Congressional Record, Reagan dropped his insistence on "large new user fees" for barges and boats using inland waterways. In exchange, the Senate Republicans agreed to legislation that would double the barge fuel tax from 10 cents a gallon to 20 cents a gallon during the next 10 years.

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