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CORPS OF ENGINEERS
RIVERS AND HARBORS
The civil works program assigned to the Corps of Engineers is being carried forward at the minimum rate essential to the adequate operation of completed works and maintenance of channels and for the accomplishment of improvements vital to the war effort. Construction of civil works has ceased, except for a few projects determined to be in accordance with Federal policies as to wartime construction. The many projects which were under construction at the beginning of the war and on which construction has been suspended are being so maintained as to preserve the partially completed structures and, where feasible, are being operated to secure to the Nation the maximum benefits available from the partially completed improvements.
The Budget estimate, which is proposed to be allowed in this bill, is for $41,358,000. It will be augmented by approximately $10,000,000 from the 1945 appropriations, representing miscellaneous items where manpower, materials, or some other item of expense could not be secured in the current fiscal year. The 1946 proposed expenditures are explained in more detail in the following paragraphs.
The estimate of $3,970,000 for new river and harbor works insures the holding of such construction to a minimum until the more urgent manpower and material requirements of the war have been satisfied. The amounts provided for new work follow: New York and New Jersey Channels
$1,600,000 Caloosahatchee River and Lake Okeechobee drainage areas, Florida..
165,000 Mississippi River between the Ohio and Missouri Rivers. 1,000, 000 Ohio River open-channel work.
507, 000 Kanawha River, W. Va.
198, 000 Illinois waterway, Illinois
500, 000 Total...
3, 970, 000 Approximately $25,000,000 will be required to complete these projects after the expenditure of the above amount.
New work funds were provided for the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the Missouri River between the mouth and Sioux City, Iowa, for the current fiscal year. In the place of these two projects in the new work funds for 1946 are New York and New Jersey Channels, and Caloosahatchee River and Lake Okeechobee drainage areas, Florida. The sum of $1,600,000 will be spent for dredging and rock excavation in the New York and New Jersey Channels and $165,000 on the other project.
Other river and harbor projects shown on page 18 of the hearings on which construction has been deferred or curtailed during the war are being maintained to preserve the partially completed structures. Their completion will cost uprard of $76,000,000. Other projects nuinbering some 190 are in a siand-by or inactive status and will require an expenditure of some $72,000,000 to complete them. In addition, there are nearly 1,000 authorized active river and harbor projects scattered throughout the continental United States, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and the Hawaiian Islands which either have been completed or substantially improved, and they are serving useful purposes to general navigation and wartime shipping. They are now carrying a tonnage approximately 40 percent greater than during the past 3 years. The ports of the country also have been put to greater use during the past 3 years. It has been necessary to establish in the Engineer Department decentralized district organizations with a considerable amount of floating and land plant, and shop and yard facilities to operate and maintain efficiently and economically the large number of varied projects. Continuing examinations and surveys must be made. The backlog of deferred maintenance appears to be increasing
The projects fully completed and in use and those partially completed and in limited use must be maintained, and there is proposed to be allowed in the present bill $40,384,000 for maintenance items. The sum of $6,315,000 is for replacement of two hopper dredges necessary in maintenance work. This amount plus the amounts provided during the current fiscal year allow for the construction of five hopper dredges to replace the same number which are more than 35 years of age, at which age it is economical to replace them.
The amounts proposed to be allowed in this estimate appear to be minimum amounts necessary at this time, and many of the items must be increased as soon as conditions will permit.
FLOOD CONTROL (GENERAL)
Clear Creek drainage and levee district, Illinois.--- $874, 000
1, 140,000 Perry County drainage and levee districts Nos. 1, 2, and 3, Missouri.-
995, 000 York, På
450, 000 Brevoort levee, Indiana.
300,000 Levee Unit No. 8, Indiana
230, 000 Gill Township levee unit, Indiana.
60,000 Muskingum River reservoirs, Ohio
7, 044, 000 For maintenance of completed works there is proposed an amount of $1,308,000, which is to cover the operation of reservoirs and other flood-control projects, where authorized by existing law, and essential maintenance work necessary to keep such projects in safe operating condition. The projects on which maintenance is required are shown on pages 48 and 49 of tbe hearings.
In proposing the Budget estimate of $2,000,000 for the preparation of plans and specifications for the post-war construction program the committee realizes that such amount does not permit of as much progress as perhaps should be made. Moreover, late in the Seventyeighth Congress and after these estimates for the fiscal year 1946 had been presented to the Budget, and perhaps had been acted upon, there was approved a flood-control act authorizing rather comprehensive flood-control plans and projects for the benefit of navigation and control of destructive floodwaters in the interest of national security and with a view toward providing an adequate reservoir of useful and worthy public works for the post-war construction program. The above planning money is not intended for such program. It is understood that a supplemental amount will be requested for the preliminary phases of such work.
It would appear most essential that advance planning for post-war construction of flood-control projects should be expedited. The Department has presented a plan for readying projects, entailing a construction outlay of a billion dollars. We have provided $27,000,000 to date for planning work. Approximately $23,000,000 additional is needed. By June of this year, the work that has been planned and will be ready to be undertaken would provide a total of 750,000 man-years of employment, at a cost of $780,000,000. The completed projects, estimated to cost $1,000,000,000, would provide 962,000 man-years of work. Your Committee recommends full provision for advance planning in order that there may be no dearth of worthwhile projects when it becomes necessary or desirable to embark upon a large-scale public works program.
FLOOD CONTROL, MISSISSIPPI RIVER AND TRIBUTARIES For this activity the committee recommends the Budget estimate of $30,000,000, which is less than the average annual appropriation for the past 16 years. The work is being prosecuted in accordance with acts of Congress which have authorized a total of $862,982,000, of which there has been appropriated $517,107,424. The amount herein provided will permit a continuation of the work of bringing the main line Mississippi River levees to project grade and section consistent with wartime conditions.
The committee has been aided in its consideration of flood-control matters by the counsel and advice of the Honorable William M. Whittington, of Mississippi, chairman of the Committee on Flood Control.
EMERGENCY FUND FOR FLOOD CONTROL ON TRIBUTARIES OF
The $500,000 provided in the bill is the same as the Budget estimate, and the same amount as was provided for the current fiscal 'year. Of the $20,000,000 authorized by acts of Congress since 1928 for emergency repairs on flood-control work on the tributaries of the Mississippi River, $11,200,000 has been appropriated. Of this amount there remains available a little less than $1,000,000, which will be augmented by the present appropriation to meet emergency flood conditions during the coming fiscal year.
FLOOD CONTROL, SACRAMENTO RIVER, CALIF. The $2,050,000 estimated by the Budget and approved by your committee is a reduction below the current fiscal year's appropriation of $750,000. The amount proposed contemplates continuation of the work at the same rate as during the present year. The project provides protection to cities and to thousands of acres of farm land and to strategic rail and highway routes running eastward from the . Pacific coast and running north and south through the valley, as well as to military installations.
FEDERAL WATER MAINS OUTSIDE THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
The Budget estimate of $12,000 for this item is approved. It is the same amount as appropriated for the present fiscal year and testimony disclosed that for the first one-half of the present fiscal year there has been used approximately $6,000 or one-half the amount requested. The water mains here under consideration are a continuation of the District water-supply system and serve the Arlington Farms area across the Memorial Bridge, including the Pentagon Building, dormitories for employees over there, the Navy Department Building, the National Airport, and other installations. From this fund the engineers take care of all the connections, miscellaneous breaks, etc., in the rather extensive system.
UNITED STATES SOLDIERS' HOME
The amount of the Budget estimate, $1,213,600, is approved by the committee. The requirement contained in the language of the current fiscal year's appropriation act to the effect that the appropriation shall not be available for the payment of a rate for hospitalization of members of the home in Army hospitals in excess of that established by the Secretary of War, upon the re ommendation of the Board of Commissioners of the home, is continued but rephrased. The intent to limit the rate to that fixed by the Secretary of War, upon the recommendation of the Board of Commissioners of the home, appears clear in either the language of the current act or by that which is proposed to replace such language.
The fund from which the amount provided herein is to be appropriated is a trust fund held in the Treasury and is made up from three sources: First, from contributions made by each soldier of the Regular Army of 10 cents per month; second, fines and forfeitures which are imposed upon soldiers of the Regular Army; and, third, the 3 percent which is paid on the funds held in the Treasury. During recent years this fund has been growing until there is now on hand or due approximately $13,400,000.
The population of the home varies from day to day and has shown a downward tendency during the past few years. At the time of the hearing the population was 1,166, but the estimates are based on an average of 1,232. During these times some of the members have availed themselves of the opportunity to aid the war effort by securing employment. With the cessation of hostilities it is anticipated some of these members will return to the home.
The estimates include $45,000 for detailed architectural and englneering plans and specifications for improvements which are needed and should be ready to start in the post-war era.
THE PANAMA CANAL
The bill proposes an appropriation of $8,108,000, which is a reduction of $1,071,600 below the amount appropriated for fiscal year 1945, and a reduction of $90,000 from the Budget estimate. The reduction from the Budget estimate is made in the item for “Construction of additional facilities, Panama Canal.” Other items are approved as proposed by the Budget.
Prior to the war period the Panama Canal was predominantly a commercial enterprise showing receipts from tolls for a number of years in excess of $23,000,000 per annum. In recent years its commercial utilization has declined until receipts from tolls approximate only $5,000,000 per annum, but its importance as a military and naval asset has greatly increased. The facilities have been utilized to a much greater extent than in previous years and it would appear that the time is rapidly approaching when there will be need for improvements and replacements that have been neglected or held in abeyance until a more propitious time.
Funds in the amount of $424,000 are provided for post-war plans and specifications in order that they may be completed and ready for the inauguration of work when manpower and materials are available.
With regard to the Panama Canal the committee desires to call attention to the report of the General Accounting Office Committee to the Comptroller General of the United States, submitted July 19, 1944, a copy of which was filed with the chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, as follows:
INTERMINGLING OF CASA BY THE COLLECTOR AND THE PAYMASTER (150) With respect to the counting of cash in the hands of the collector and the paymaster, principal accountable officers of the Panama Canal, this committee was faced with the same conditions that have confronted former committees. The committee did not count the cash in the custody of these officers but accepted certificates of the Comptroller, the Panama Canal, for the amount of cash to the credit of the agencies whose accounts were examined. As has been reported by previous committees no verification of Panama Canal and Canal Zone funds actually in the hands of the collector and the paymaster at any given date can be effected, because such funds are intermingled with Panama Railroad Company funds (48 Ú. S. C. 1327), and the committee was not authorized to examine the accounts of the railroad or its business auxiliaries. While a segregation is made in the accounting department of the thousands of transactions affecting the Canal, the railroad, and the Canal Zone government, thereby enabling the collector and the paymaster to maintain book controls with respect to their accountability to these agencies, nevertheless there is no physical separation of the cash belonging to such agencies in those offices. Therefore, the counting of cash in either office by representatives of the General Accounting Office (or by the private firm of accountants who audit the accounts of the Panama Railroad Company) to determine that cash is on hand in sufficient amounts to equal the stated accountability of only one or less than all of the agencies involved would be futile.
(151) In connection with this recurring question of “cash intermingling” there is submitted for the attention and consideration of those concerned a prior committee's suggestion that: “* a complete audit should include verification and reconciliation with submitted or approved accounts of all cash in the offices of the collector, the paymaster, and other fiscal officers, pertaining to the Panama Canal, the Panama Railroad, and the Canal Zone government, as well as spceial