U.S. Representative Mike McIntyre has written the U.S. House Appropriations Committee urging them to ensure a more equitable funding balance for coastal projects.
McIntyre, who recently released a 7th District Coastal Compact, was joined by many of colleagues in writing:
We are writing to you today concerning the President's proposed budget for the fiscal year 2012 for the Army Corp. of Engineers and specifically the "Flood and Coastal Storm Damage Reduction" section.
The current FY12 budget proposes $721 million for the Flood and Coastal Storm Damage Reduction. Of that amount, $698 million is targeted for "Inland" construction and only $23 million for "Coastal" construction. We are writing to express our concerns about this inadequate distribution of funding in this account.
About 85 percent of all tourism-related revenue in the United States is generated in coastal states -- where beaches are the leading tourist attraction. Each year, government takes in $320 in taxes from beach tourists for every dollar it spends on beach renourishment. Beach renourishment projects not only help to fuel America's coastal economy but they provide important protection from storms for upland structures. In fact, coastal dependent businesses account for $225 billion in sales every year.
Coastal storm damage reduction projects mitigate the potential loss of millions of dollars in damage in the case of large storms and most have a benefit to cost ratio of more than 2.5:1. These projects serve as an essential protective levee along the nations coastlines.
Coastal protection, however, serves a vital role in protecting some of our nation's most vital infrastructure assets, while helping to fuel our coastal economy. The Army Corps of Engineers estimates that every $1 spent mitigating coastal storm damage saves $7 in response and post-storm recovery costs.
We would encourage you to consider shifting additional funding from the "Inland" to the "Coastal" account as we move forward with the development of the FY12 Army Corp. of Engineers budget.
Representative McIntyre is founder and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Waterways Caucus, a bi-partisan coalition of Members of Congress to help preserve important waterways in the U.S. In addition, he is a member of the Congressional Coastal Caucus.