Partnerships with States
There are opportunities for partnership of the federal government with states in sharing the costs of the inland waterways system. In the past, the role for state and local governments was to serve as the local sponsor for federal projects. With decreases in available federal funding, state and local governments have recognized the need to fund infrastructure improvements and maintenance. This approach has the advantage that these governmental entities have a broad range of funding mechanism options to generate revenues. These mechanisms could include user fees, fuel or sales taxes, or property taxes. Some portions of the Gulf and Atlantic Intracoastal Waterways are operated and maintained by the states they border. The Florida Inland Navigation District provides an example, as discussed in Box 3-8.
The Corps of Engineers has constructed an extensive infrastructure designed to manage flood risks along rivers and also infrastructure to protect against surges from coastal storms. The Corps has built approximately 11,750 miles of riverine levees across the nation and provides shoreline protection for hundreds of miles of U.S. coastlines. Many of the Corps’ approximately 700 dams also serve flood control purposes. Like its infrastructure for navigation activities, a large portion of Corps of Engineers levees and other protective structures were constructed in the first half of the twentieth century or earlier and face many similar maintenance, rehabilitation, upgrade—and funding— issues.
In the Corps navigation mission area, taxation and trust funds for navigation infrastructure OMR are federally governed and thus directly relevant to Corps operations. By contrast, in the Corps flood risk management mission area, taxation and financing issues for infrastructure OMR are local responsibilities and less germane to Corps programs. This section thus focuses on Corps responsibilities for flood risk management, in particular by discussing nonstructural flood management options on which the Corps can collaborate with local communities, as consistent with the shared responsibility for managing flood risk. Financial OMR responsibilities for flood pro-