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pating, probably for the single reason that these projects, when the benefits are real, can be translated into economic returns that the communities can tap in the future, notwithstanding their present financial straits. Finally, we are proud that we did not screen the eligible projects to assure a successful result. On the contrary, our projects are simply those that came through the usual Corps system.
Congress also should be aware of the tremendous effort that water project sponsors are making to implement their projects in a timely and efficient way. Those efforts are reflected not only in the stated commitments underlying new starts, but also in the news articles and in the letters we are receiving, which recount the innovative means which sponsors are developing to implement and finance projects.
OPERATION, MAINTENANCE, AND REHABILITATION
In spite of the new construction proposals we have made, expenditures, as you pointed out in your opening remarks, Mr. Chairman, for operation and maintenance of completed projects will continue to demand the largest share of budgetary resources, at least in fiscal year 1986 and for the next few years. Starting in fiscal year 1986, under the Army's legislative proposals, beneficiaries would pay a larger share of the cost of operation, maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement. This would be done in a number of ways outlined specifically in my complete statement, but in all mechanisms non-federal sponsors will be encouraged to recover their share of these costs through user fees or any other mechanism they desire, so as to promote the principle of "beneficiary pay" as encouraged by the President's water policy letter.
FEASIBILITY STUDY COST SHARING
Let me mention very briefly, Mr. Chairman, our two-phase planning process that you are very much aware of, where we are proposing that the Federal Government pay 100 percent of the reconnaissance phase of studies, but that the non-federal interests cost share in the feasibility study itself, and we would ask your consideration, again, of that proposal, which we think will serve to screen out those studies that don't ultimately result in a Corps project.
I would like to hit very briefly on the subject of regulatory reform, Mr. Chairman. I know this committee has been very interested and very supportive of the reform of the Corps of Engineers' regulatory program. As you know, in the past the Corps' regulatory program has slowed down many of the projects that this committee has approved and re-rated activities that private citizens have undertaken based on those projects that you have approved.
We have been able to reduce the average processing time of permits under the Corps' regulatory program from about 140 days down to 75 days so that the Section 404 and other permits are being decided much more quickly by the Corps and in a much more predictable way. However, I might say that we have got a long way
to go to complete the task of reforming the Corps' regulatory program so that people, private citizens and local entities, can get a decision on a Corps permit application in a reasonable time but without sacrificing the environmental safeguards that are clearly in the law.
Moving onto a subject that General Heiberg will talk about more completely, and that is the issue of ocean disposal. Dredging is essential to the nation's economic well-being, and it is imperative that this activity be conducted in a fiscally responsible, as well as environmentally acceptable, manner. I am very concerned, Mr. Chairman, about the trend to require disposal of dredged material at great distances in the ocean in the absence of any scientific evidence suggesting that there are benefits commensurate with the cost of such efforts. As I mentioned, General Heiberg will go into this in more detail.
WORK FOR OTHERS
General Heiberg will also address the work for other Federal agencies that the Corps has undertaken in the interest of government efficiency, as well as for states and local governments and other countries. I will simply say, in the interest of time, that I support these efforts wholeheartedly.
Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, you and your members are more aware than anyone of the reality of the water problems facing our nation and the need to improve the nation's infrastructure in an efficient and timely way. Your actions will have very important and far-reaching impact on this nation's well-being and many citizens, as you know better than I, anxiously await revitalization of the civil works construction program. We also know about the deserving communities and individual citizens who are awaiting flood protection, harbor improvements and other valuable services that can be provided by water projects.
You will be hearing directly from many of these people, I know, in the weeks ahead. If something is not done soon to break the logjam, the history of the program for the past ten years or so will be read, in my opinion, as a testament of the inability of the government to respond to new challenges in a timely and responsible way. There can be revitalization in the water resources program in spite of the current Federal budget crisis.
We also know that the budgeted new construction start proposals demonstrate that non-federal interests are willing and are able to contribute substantially more than they have in the past to receive the benefits of effective water resources development. We also know that there are ways to substantially increase the efficiency of program execution. There is no remaining good reason for more delay.
Many of our budgetary proposals require new authorizations. I would hope that members of this subcommittee, with your influence, would urge their colleagues to act on these authorizations.
Meanwhile, we ask the subcommittee to support our efforts to initiate the already authorized new construction projects on the terms we have negotiated with local sponsors and also to endorse our two-phase preauthorization study process, including study cost sharing.
We need your help, Mr. Chairman. We fully recognize that without your support we cannot move forward to address these critical problems. We also know that with your help and working together, we can move ahead to solve pressing water resources problems.
Mr. Chairman, if I might end with a personal note, I have been actively engaged in the water resources development arena for the past 13 years or so, which I know is much shorter than many of you have been involved, but I feel I have been involved long enough to say that we have, I think, a historic opportunity this year to move forward, and I am frankly not certain how many more opportunities like this we may have. I stand ready to work with the subcommittee and with the Congress and move aggressively forward this year, not later, but now, to address these problems. In my judgment, the project beneficiaries are ready. The mechanisms are ready, and the time is right, and I believe that we in the Department are, and I know the subcommittee is, ready to move ahead as well.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
[The statement of Robert K. Dawson follows:]
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY (CIVIL WORKS)
ROBERT K. DAWSON
ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY (CIVIL WORKS)
BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT
COMMITTER ON APPROPRIATIONS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ON THE FY 1986 CIVIL WORKS BUDGET
FEBRUARY 20, 1985
STATEMENT OF ROBERT K. DAWSON
ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY (CIVIL WORKS)
ON THE FISCAL YEAR 1986 CIVIL WORKS BUDGET
MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE:
I am pleased to appear before your Subcommitte today to discuss the Army's Civil Works Program and the Fiscal Year (FY) 1986 Budget Recommendations. Chief of Engineers, Lieutenant General E. R. Heiberg, III; the Director of Civil Works, Major. General John F. Wall, and the Chief of Programs, Dr. Bory Steinberg, are with me and will assist in presenting the Army's testimony.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to proceed by presenting an overview of my statement, and I request that General Heiberg be permitted to summarize his statement. We would then be available to answer the Subcommittee's questions. I also ask that my prepared statement and that of General Heiberg be placed into the record.
the FY 1986 budget including the
My statement addresses these topics: context, policies, and directives that contributed to its formulation; the regulatory reform; ocean disposal; Federal Engineer; and, finally, items and projects of concern to the Administration and Congress.
CONTEXT OF THE CIVIL WORKS PROGRAM FOR FY 1986
President Reagan has stated: "Providing enough high quality water promptly to those who need it is a task that has confronted Americans since the earliest days of our national experience." We know that this Subcommittee continues its commitment to working with the States, local entities, and those private sector interests concerned with water development all across America on this never-ending challenge. It is in the spirit of working with you to