Andrew Ausel | December 22, 2015
Signed into law by President Obama Monday, Congress has passed a $1.14 trillion omnibus spending measure that will fund the government through next September, averting a potential government shutdown for the next nine months. Although the 2009-page bill did not contain any express design-build provisions, the measure funds major construction sectors and specific projects that are traditionally done via design-build. Analyses of the bill concluded that the construction sector scored some major victories that are sure to feed a construction increase in FY 2016.
As a sector that utilizes design-build at a higher rate than any other, military construction spending in this year’s omnibus experienced a large increase.
- Military construction funding increased 16% to $7.2 billion.
- The Army Corps of Engineers civil works program received a 10% increase, to $6 billion.
- Funding of major construction within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is set at $1.2 billion – $100 million over the President’s request and $862 million above the 2015 level.
- Funding for construction, operation, and maintenance of military family housing for fiscal year 2016 was raised to $1.4 billion; $214 million above the 2015 enacted level, due primarily to an increased need for Air Force family housing.
- Construction and alterations of new or existing military medical facilities was funded at $623 million.
Related to VA funding, the bill makes $649 million of the funds contingent upon the VA bringing in an outside federal entity, such as the Army Corps of Engineers, to manage projects above $100 million.
Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD):
- THUD funding increased to $57.6 billion, an increase of $3.8 billion compared to the fiscal year 2015 enacted level – and $114 billion in total budgetary resources.
- Discretionary appropriations for the Department of Transportation (DOT) increased to $18.7 billion, $847 million above the 2015 enacted level and $5.4 billion below the President’s request.
- TIGER program funding remained frozen at the 2015 level of $500 million.
- The full $42.4 billion authorized for highways by the recently enacted FAST legislation is funded, which is an increase of $2.1 billion over the 2015 enacted level.
- The federal-aid highway obligation ceiling increased 5% to $42.4 billion.
- $16.3 billion is set aside for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), $564 million above the 2015 enacted level.
- $11.8 billion is provided for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) – an increase of $870 million over the 2015 enacted level – meeting the level authorized by the recently enacted FAST legislation.
The General Services Administration’s construction and acquisition account was funded at $1.6 billion, which is triple its past funding; $341 million of which is allocated for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Consolidation Project. To that end, the DHS was appropriated $215 million for their part in the completion of this project that is now expected to open in 2021.