Budget Constraints and the Corps Consideration of Public-Private Partnerships: Where Is the Money Going to Come From?
Executive Summary (excerpts)
A realistic look at the future federal budget shows it will be increasingly consumed by healthcare costs, social security, and interest payments on the national debt. State and local government funds are being similarly squeezed. Clearly, prospects for Federal aid are diminishing, and states cannot run deficits. Over time, the Civil Works Construction Appropriation has decreased in real terms. Operations and maintenance funding has remained constant, but it must be allocated to aging and newly completed projects. ‘No new investigation starts’ is generally the policy. The Corps Civil Works Program has budget challenges.
This paper reviews current Corps PPPs and the advantages and disadvantages of PPP expansion. Institutional barriers pose potential problems: Corps authorities for expanding PPPs are unclear and would likely require legislative changes. Also, OMB may oppose expansion. The issue is complex; however, funding problems remain and the Corps missions will suffer without change.
The question is raised that if OMB does not allow various activities to meet missions and Congress does not fund them: Does Congress still want the Corps missions met or is this de-authorization by proxy?