Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Proposal & the Great Lakes

By GLSR Staff  |  Latest News, Locks, Marine Highway, Maritime Initiatives
The Biden Administration has released its budget proposal for all federal agencies for Fiscal Year 2025, which will begin on October 1. This year’s budget process coincides with FY2024, because appropriations for many federal agencies have yet to be finalized. While Congress enacted six appropriation bills on March 8, six additional bills are unfinished. Many federal programs are still operating on stop-gap funding, which will expire on March 22. All FY2025 budget documents can be found here, including detailed amounts for each federal program. The House and Senate will now begin hearings on the budget plan with the goal of developing 12 separate appropriation bills – each detailing spending for specific government agencies and programs. This process is supposed to conclude by the beginning of the federal fiscal year on October 1; however, since the previous year funding is still unresolved and the elections take place in November, things might be delayed.Nevertheless, the budget proposal includes several items of interest to the Great Lakes port and navigation community.Soo LocksThe Corps of Engineers’ budget includes $264 million to continue construction on the new lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Last year Congress approved $257.4 million. The project has received $1.9 billion in Congressional and state funding (Michigan) to date. The Corps hopes to complete the $3.2 billion project by 2030.Great Lakes AuthorityThe budget includes $5 million to continue the startup process for the Great Lakes region’s new economic development agency. The GLA was authorized by Congress in 2022 and will be governed by a nine-member board with one appointed by the President, and one appointed by each of the Governors of the eight Great Lakes states. On March 8, Congress approved an initial $5 million to kick-start the process of standing up the agency. FY2025 funds will continue that process. At this time, the next step is for the White House to appoint the federal board chair.Port Infrastructure Development ProgramThe budget proposal cuts baseline funding for the PIDP program and only includes $80 million for FY2025. By comparison, the White House had proposed $300 million last year and Congress approved $120.1 million for FY2024. These cuts reflect the fact that the PIDP program received “advanced appropriations” of $450 million/year between FY2022-26 in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Future annual appropriations supplement these amounts. Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development CorporationThe FY2025 budget includes $40.6 million for the U.S. Seaway, a slight increase from the $40.3 million approved by Congress for the agency in FY2024. The GLS operates U.S. portions of the Seaway which spans from Montreal to Lake Erie. A total of $16.4 million is specifically earmarked for infrastructure renewal in FY2025.Corps of Engineers Operation & MaintenanceThe budget includes specific line-item breakouts for O&M spending at many Great Lakes harbors. These funding items include dredging and repair of navigation structures. To view a state-by-state breakdown of the Corps’ FY2025 budget proposal, click here.  A summary of Great Lakes projects is being prepared by the Corps and will be distributed soon.
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