Waterborne navigation has been an important resource in the economic development of the Great Lakes region. In 1960, Congress authorized the Corps of Engineers to study, adopt, construct and maintain small navigation projects. Some 51 navigation projects have been completed in the Great Lakes region under this authority.
This authority requires a cost-sharing partner, who may be a state, local or tribal government. The feasibility study is cost shared 50/50 after the first $100,000 of full Federal funding. The cost-sharing formula for project design, construction and maintenance under this authority is dependant on the type of navigation feature proposed:
- general harbor features (80% Federal, 20% Non-Federal)
- inland waterways (75% Federal, 25% Non-Federal)
- recreational harbor features (50% Federal, 50% Non-Federal)
The local sponsor must also provide all necessary lands, easement, rights-of-way, relocations and disposal (LERRD). Congress directed that annual funding for this authority not exceed $35,000,000 Corps-wide, and that the Federal share on individual projects not exceed $4,000,000.
Where the project costs exceed the limits of this authority, Congress may direct the project through specific legislation.