|Program Title||Inland Waterways Navigation|
|Department Name||Corps of Engineers-Civil Works|
|Agency/Bureau Name||Corps of Engineers-Civil Works|
Direct Federal Program
Capital Assets and Service Acquisition Program
|Assessment Section Scores||
|Program Funding Level
|Year Began||Improvement Plan||Status||Comments|
|Year Began||Improvement Plan||Status||Comments|
Measure: Percent of funding to construct, replace, and expand projects that is allocated to high return investments.
Explanation:This could include, for example, a benefit to cost ratio (BCR) greater than 3. This measure would exclude funding for rehabilitations.
Measure: Percent of all high commercial use waterways segments with an active program of preventive maintenance that is sufficient to achieve a good service level.
Explanation:The high commercial use segments are the Lower Mississippi River, Ohio River, Upper Mississippi River, Illinois Waterway, Tennessee River, and Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Discussions with stakeholders will determine the definition of "good" level of service. However, "good" is higher than "acceptable."
Measure: Percent of time that all high commercial use waterways segments are available when customers want to use them.
Explanation:The focus is on funding on the high commercial use waterways to minimize draft restrictions due to shoaling of channels and minimize lock closures due to mechanical failures.
Measure: Segment availability. Number of instances where mechanically driven failure or shoaling results in the closure of all or part of a high or moderate commercial use waterways segment for over 24 hours. Also closures in excess of 1 week.
Explanation:This would only include failures on the main chamber of a lock, rather than an auxiliary chamber, and shoaling due to inadequate dredging, rather than low water levels from droughts, or channels closed due to floods.
Measure: Total O&M funding including rehabilitations expended per segment ton-mile, averaged over a five-year period.
Explanation:Measure would provide an efficiency rating for each waterway segment.
|Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design|
Is the program purpose clear?
Explanation: The purpose of the program is to facilitate commercial transportation within the United States in a manner that fosters efficient use of the Nation's overall resources by providing safe, reliable, highly cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable inland waterborne transportation systems. On some waterways, where authorized by law, the Corps also works to achieve other purposes, such as hydropower, water supply, recreation, flood damage reduction, and environmental stewardship. For purposes of this program rating assessment, the inland waterways wil include the gulf intracoastal and atlantic intracoastal waterways.
Evidence: Through Rivers and Harbor Acts, Water Resources Development Acts, and other laws, the Congress has authorized numerous projects to facilitate inland waterways transportation. In 2006 [check year], the Corps counted about 2.7 million lock-passages by a barge on the inland waterways. (Where a barge moves through multiple locks on a single trip, each time counts as an additional lock-passage.) Measured in ton-miles, about 20 percent of the freight shipped within the United States moved on the inland waterways in 2006 [check year], including about 16 percent of the domestic coal and about 50 percent of the grain bound for export [cite source for these figures].
Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest, or need?
Explanation: The original purpose of the program was to assist in the economic development of the frontier by building canals and reducing obstructions to inland navigation. The Corps now operates a network of about 12,000 miles of rivers, canals, and other inland waterways servicing 21 states. The program provides a low cost transportation alternative mostly to shippers of bulk goods in areas located nearby these developed inland waterways. Federal responsibility stems more from the historic role that the government has played in the development of these waterways, rather than from any current market failure. In some cases, however, the Corps is working to operate inland waterways in an environmentally sustainable manner; in others, it manages a system of projects to support both navigation and other purposes. Transferring the responsibility for these waterways to a private party would reduce the ability of the Federal government to address such integrated objectives. Also, the program's costs are now mostly borne by the general taxpayer. It is not clear that a private party could recover all of these costs from the users.
Evidence: [Need to fill in the evidence here.]
Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?
Explanation: The inland waterways program does not duplicate or overlap the work of other Federal, state, or local agencies, or of private entities. The program is responsible for the construction, replacement, and expansion of inland waterways projects; operation and maintenance, including rehabilitation of the locks and dams and the dredging of channels; controlling water levels; and the surveying of channels. In implementing this program, the Corps coordinates its efforts with and cooperates with the related efforts of other Federal agencies, primarily the Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Fish and Wildlife Service. It also works with states, local governments, towing companies, the industries that produce or use the bulk goods moved on barges, contractors, and groups representing shippers and the public interest.
Evidence: Under existing law, the Corps has sole responsibility for the inland waterways. The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, a wholly owned government corporation, is the only other agency in the United States with a similar mission. It is responsible for the two locks and dams and 120 miles of channel on the St. Lawrence Seaway that are within the territorial limits of the United States, and works with its Canadian counterpart to facilitate commercial navigation through the entire Seaway.
Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?
Explanation: The Congress finances one-half of the cost of the Federal capital investment in the inland waterways from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. The source of funding for this Trust Fund is an excise tax on diesel fuel used on certain of the inland waterways. The tax is not raising enough revenue to keep pace with the cost of current or projected Federal capital investments in these waterways. It mostly reflects the distance traveled by towboats and the weight that they are carrying, rather than the amount of resources required to provide for the infrastructure that enables them to use the waterways. The tax also involves a large cross-subsidy from some waterways users to others. The annual receipts cover less than 10 percent of the total costs that the Corps incurs each year to support inland waterways navigation, when taking into account operation and maintenance costs paid by the general taxpayer. In 2008, the Administration proposed legislation to address these concerns by phasing out the fuel tax and replacing it with a more efficient lock usage fee, which would preserve current cost-sharing and lead over time to a more productive use of our national transportation system.
Evidence: [Need to fill in the evidence here.]
Is the program design effectively targeted so that resources will address the program's purpose directly and will reach intended beneficiaries?
Explanation: While the inland waterways program applies its funding in ways that reach the intended beneficiaries directly and address the program's purpose, its current design does not lend itself readily to targeting the available funding effectively. Specifically, the program needs to take steps to better evaluate the tradeoffs between the cost of a new project, which would expand the extent or level of the current service provided on the inland waterways, and the cost of investing more in the maintenance of existing facilities including their rehabilitation, which would better support the current level of service. The Corps has built a number of major new systems over the past several decades, which considerably expanded the reach of the inland waterways. The net economic return from some of these investments has been much lower than it originally estimated. While the program recently has improved its models for estimating benefits based on a willingness to pay, it needs to do more in the future to ensure that it is making the best possible use of the available funds. The cost per segment-ton-mile to operate and maintain some inland waterways is relatively high. The Corps has not developed a strategy for deciding when and whether it should be making substantial further investments in such waterways. During seasonal traffic peaks, barges are more likely to encounter delays on some inland waterways. The towing industry is working to reduce these delays through improved crew training and, in some locations, through towboat-assist measures. The Corps has not pursued other management options, such as lock scheduling and/or congestion fees, due to the opposition of user groups. The inland waterways program is, however, improving its methods for establishing operation and maintenance priorities, using concepts developed in the Lakes and River Division for the Ohio River. In addition, the Administration has proposed to transfer rehabilitation work to the operation and maintenance program, in order to support an integrated investment strategy and improve accountability and oversight.
Evidence: With regard to the construction, expansion, and replacement of inland waterways projects, the Budget funds all projects that meet established performance measures. With regard to the operation and maintenance of projects including rehabilitation, the Budget establishes priorities among the inland waterways segments based on the level of commercial traffic (measured in segment-ton-miles) and allocates funding within each segment based on a technical assessment of the condition of the projects and factors such as risk and reliability. The program applies the general financial, project construction, and operation and maintenance business practices of the Corps.
|Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design||Score||60%|
|Section 2 - Strategic Planning|
Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?
Explanation: The Corps' long-term goal is to provide reliable waterways for commercial users to traverse the system in a safe, efficient manner. Specific long-term goals include increasing the percentage of high commercial use segments with sufficient preventative maintenance to achieve a good service level.
Evidence: The ultimate goal is to improve service to the customer at reduced cost. The goal was developed in concert with OMB and included in the PART in FY 2007.
Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?
Explanation: The program has a target of 25,000 hours for total scheduled and unscheduled lock closures due to mechanical failures, and a goal to reduce scheduled and unscheduled lock closures due to mechanical failures from 49,318 in 2005 to 25,000 hours by FY 2013.
Evidence: Based on information gathered from the Lock Performance Management System, the Corps had 27,213 hours of scheduled and unscheduled lock closures due to mechanical failures in 2001. The numbers of closure hours grew to 49,318 hours in 2005. Based on the Corps' Five Year Development Plan, it plans to buy down risk at the locks over the next five years to achieve a target of 25,000 hours in FY 2013.
Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term goals?
Explanation: Specific annual goals were developed in 2007 and include: Increasing navigation segment availability by reducing the number of instances where mechanical driven failure or shoaling results in the closure of all or part of a high or moderate commercial use segment for over 24 hours, and also for closures in excess of 1 week; increase the percentage of funding to construct, replace, and expand projects that is allocated to high return investments; and reduce the total O&M funds expended per segment ton-mile averaged over a five-year period, including rehabilitations.
Evidence: Annual goals are reflected in the Inland Navigation PART and the Corps' Five-Year Development Plan.
Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?
Explanation: The program has a baseline of 27,000 hours for total scheduled and unscheduled lock closures due to mechanical failures, and a goal to reduce scheduled and unscheduled lock closures due to mechanical failures to 25,000 hours by FY 2013.
Evidence: Based on information gathered from the Lock Performance Management System, the Corps had 27,213 hours of scheduled and unscheduled lock closures due to mechanical failures in 2001. The numbers of closure hours grew to 49,318 hours in 2005. Based on the Corps' Five Year Development Plan, it plans to buy down risk at the locks over the next five years to achieve a target of 25,000 hours.
Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?
Explanation: The Corps' inland waterway navigation system users are represented by the Inland Waterway Users Board (IWUB); Mississippi River Commission; Waterways Council, Incorporated; and other stakeholder groups. There is active participation and communication between the Corps and its stakeholders on navigation issues and the stakeholders recommend priorities for operations and maintenance, system improvements, and major rehabilitations. Highest priorities are accorded to those projects that reduce waiting times at key locks and improve navigation safety.
Evidence: The Inland Waterways Users Board is an industry/Federal advisory committee established by Section 302 of Public Law 99-662. The eleven member Board represents all geographic areas on the fuel-taxed inland waterways system of the United States. The composition of the Board also reflects a balanced industry focus, including shopper and carrier members from companies of different sizes and specializing in the transport of different commodities. For 2007 the Inland Waterways User Board made recommendations on 5 top priority and an additional 9 high priority construction and major rehabilitation projects, and 8 projects under study or design. The Board has not supported operational changes and has opposed additional user fees and taxes. (http://www.iwub.iwr.usace.army.mil/IWUB_report2007.pdf) The Act of Congress, 28 June 1879, created the Mississippi River Commission and ER 10-1-5, Mississippi River Commission, 15 June 1965, sets forth the organization and mission.
Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?
Explanation: The Corps is conducting a navigation lock operation and maintenance review as part of the Competitive Sourcing legislation. The Preliminary Planning phase of the review resulted in a High Performing Organization (HPO) review being conducted. There are Business Process Reviews on various aspects of inland navigation that will result in improved service and reduced costs when the study concludes later in 2008. The Corps has implemented a program for independent external peer review utilizing external professional organizations during the formulation of alternatives and project selection on new projects to assure the conclusions are well founded, effective and relevant to the problem. For each of the major components of the Inland Navigation System, the Corps conducts inspections, identifies problems, and conducts engineering and economic analyses to determine the need for new facilities or the need to rehabilitate existing facilities. Such studies include system effects and are conducted by the Corps as part of open process that includes stake holders. All studies undergo an independent technical review and feasibility studies undergo an independent peer review. The Corps has since refined its economic model and assumptions and the model is undergoing independent peer review.
Evidence: Ongoing Corps regional studies have identified at least another 16 projects as likely candidates over the next decade at a cost of over $1.1 billion. A-76 and Peer review guidance.
Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?
Explanation: The Corps budgets for its appropriations by account to reflect the life cycle of its projects: Investigations for reconnaissance and feasibility studies; and Construction for capital improvements; Operations and Maintenance for operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of existing projects. The Corps breaks out the appropriations by business lines: navigation, flood and coastal risk management, hydropower, ecosystem restoration, recreation, etc. and aligns them with performance objectives in its annual performance plan. The Corps also receives funds from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) to pay for 50 percent of the cost of capital improvements and major rehabilitations on the 27 named inland and intracoastal waterways. The navigation program budget is integrated with performance. The budget is prepared in funding increments from the bottom up, by project, with multiple increments sequentially ordered. In addition to the performance measures/outcomes found in 2.1 and 2.3 above, each increment includes measures such as tonnage, ton-miles, BCR, legal mandate, safety, purpose, and consequences that are used to integrate the performance as you fund more increments. The measures also provide the consequence or effects of not funding increments and provide the purpose of the investment. The legal mandate measure is used to identify the must budget increments.
Evidence: EC 11-2-187, Corps of Engineers Civil Works Program Development Guidance Fiscal Year 2009, Appendix 5, Annex B and Annex C, includes the performance metrics associated with the Navigation Business Line. The impact of alternative funding levels on navigation and other business lines is provided in the Corps' annual budget requests and Five Year Development Plans. The shortage of funding from general appropriations and IWTF is readily apparent at project sites when the frequency of mechanical breakdowns increases, channel depths are reduced, locks are closed part time, and construction and rehabilitation schedules are drawn out.
Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?
Explanation: The Corps' Strategic Plan and business processes are continually reviewed and revised for improvement in response to comments from stakeholders, Congressional legislation, and lessons learned. The Civil Works (CW) Strategic Plan, dated March 2004 provided new goals and objectives for the navigation program and served the Corps well. The Strategic Plan is under review and is expected to be reissued in calendar year 2008. This process is invoked when the policy has major changes requiring a correction to the strategic planning. The new goals and objectives are integrated with performance measures in the annual program guidance. Each year we revisit the performance measures for relevance with the ranking process.
Evidence: Civil Works Strategic Plan. EC 11-2-187, Corps of Engineers Civil Works Program Development Guidance Fiscal Year 2009, Appendix V (http://www.usace.army.mil/cw/cecwb/fy09ec/fy09ecpub.pdf). Meetings with interested parties and with principals from other agencies & development of specialized training to improve project development processes.
Has the agency/program conducted a recent, meaningful, credible analysis of alternatives that includes trade-offs between cost, schedule, risk, and performance goals, and used the results to guide the resulting activity?
Explanation: For operation and maintenance activities, the Corps is undergoing a High Performing Organization study to determine the most efficient personnel organization for its locks and facilities. Facilities are reviewed periodically for security, information technology, and process automation to improve efficiency. The Corps conducted recent analysis of alternatives cost, schedule, risk and performance goals, and used them to guide the results of the activity. There have been many process improvement studies and a recent example is to determine if any corrective actions are warranted. An example is the planning process, which was examined in 2006 and recommended some corrective actions. In its economic analyses of proposed new investments, the Corps assumes that the projects could be built on an efficient schedule, which may not be achievable due to funding constraints. The Corps recognizes such funding constraints in its annual budget request in presenting the impact of alternative 10-year schedules on costs and benefits.
Evidence: ER 11-1-321, Army Programs, Value Engineering. Regarding operation and maintenance, the Corps has analyzed the Inland Waterway System for cost savings since 1997 and has conducted a benefit-cost analysis. The benefit-cost analysis concluded that all but one segment was justified. However, the analysis is based on national averages and the findings may not be applicable to low-use segments. Additional study of these segments is required to improve outputs and performance. [Performance metrics for the navigation program are included in Appendix 5 of Engineering Circular, 11-2-187, Corps of Engineers Civil Works Program Development Guidance Fiscal Year 2009. The President's Budget and subsequent appropriations provide specific funding to operate, maintain, and improve the inland and intracoastal waterways. Appropriated funds pay for 100 percent of the operation and maintenance costs for the waterways. Funding for lock replacements and major rehabilitations is provided by a combination of appropriated funds and the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF). Revenues in the IWTF are generated by a tax of 20 cents per gallon on diesel fuel used on the 27 named inland waterways. The IWTF is only available to fund one-half the cost of eligible construction and rehabilitation projects. Due to the deteriorating condition and need to improve and rehabilitate the inland locks and dams, the Administration's recommendations and Congress' appropriations over the last several years have exceeded revenues generated by the diesel fuel tax and the fund is expected to be almost depleted by the end of FY 2008. The Administration finalizing proposed legislation for submittal to the Congress to enact a lock user fee on barges passing through Corps locks. The proposed legislation would appropriately charge users of the locks a fee and would phase out the diesel fuel tax. The proposed fees would generate revenues to meet the higher funding expectations of the Congress and waterways users.]
|Section 2 - Strategic Planning||Score||56%|
|Section 3 - Program Management|
Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?
Explanation: The Corps collects physical performance data on a daily basis and uses it to manage its facilities. The Corps also collects daily financial data through the Corps of Engineers Financial Management System (CEFMS) to record and track obligations, expenditures, and performance of work activities. The program office regularly collects data on milestone accomplishments. Project milestones include reconnaissance study completion, feasibility study completion, design completion, and project completion that are financially tied to obligations because each milestone has a discrete funding requirement. Project schedules are baselined at initiation and require approved schedule and cost changes. Information is also collected on contractor status to assure they are performing. The Corps' District offices execute the program and this performance information is used to make resource decisions required to efficiently manage the program. We have initiated an assessment team to determine how to apply earned value principals to the Corps scheduling process.
Evidence: The USACE Lock Performance Monitoring System (LPMS) and Lock Characteristics database provides Corps operators, planners, and managers with information on the use, performance, and characteristics of the Corps' national system of locks. LPMS consists of data collected at Corps-owned and/or Corps-operated locks. Data is collected at each lock and electronically transmitted to the central database, which is managed and distributed by the Navigation Data Center. The data is available from 1980 to the present and includes the number of vessels and barges locked; type and dates of lockages; durations of, and causes for, periods of lock unavailability; barge type, size, and commodity type; and tonnages carried. Statistics are published monthly for selected key locks and annually for all locks. Individual vessel and lock reporting forms and statistics can be found at: http://www.iwr.usace.army.mil/ndc/lpms/lpms.htm. CEFMS collects real time financial data to track financial performance. ER 37-2-10, Financial Administration - Accounting and Reporting - Civil Works Activities; ER 5-1-11 Business Process.
Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?
Explanation: Federal managers are held accountable for project schedules, costs, performance, and for ensuring projects are open and available for traffic. Federal managers are held accountable through their job performance objectives to execute the project. Federal managers solicit contractors to construct these projects and both are held accountable for performance, cost and schedule though performance standards specified within the contract. The contractors' performance is rated for each contract in the Construction Contractor Appraisal Support System and these performance evaluations are used to assist in the future selection process.
Evidence: Evidence: ER 5-1-11 Business Process. ER 1110-1-12, Quality Management; Construction Contractor Appraisal Support System; National Security Performance System, Total Army Performance Evaluation System.
Are funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner, spent for the intended purpose and accurately reported?
Explanation: Funds for each Fiscal Year (FY) are usually scheduled to be obligated and expended in the FY received and spent for the intended purpose. With the recent Congressional restrictions on reprogramming funds between projects and the use of continuing contracts, there are very limited requests to reprogram funds from one project to another (exceptions would include cases where critical or emergency maintenance or repairs are required), and some funds are carried over to the next fiscal year before being obligated or expended. Non-Federal funds and Inland Waterway Trust Funds are usually requested in the year needed and usage is scheduled accordingly. All funds are tracked through the Corps of Engineers Financial Management System. Sponsor, Inland Waterways Trust Fund, and Federal funds are scheduled together for the efficient execution of the program. In some cases additional time may be required to obligate and expend supplemental appropriations due to the additional lead time to formulate and develop project and contract requirements. Program funds are spent on the intended purpose authorized by congress as illustrated by the minimal number of reprogrammings between projects. These funds are appropriated and allocated to the Districts for execution by project according to the intent of congress. The Corps of Engineers Financial Management System (CEFMS) is an accurate financial management system for reporting obligations, and comparing them against the intended purpose. The system is balanced monthly and annually yielding an accurate reporting tool.
Evidence: The Corps' financial execution rate is captured in CEFMS. The Corps' obligation execution rates for General Investigations, Construction (including Inland Waterways Trusty Fund), Operation & Maintenance, and Mississippi River & Tributaries for FY 2007 were 96%, 94%, 98%, and 97%, respectively. Corps of Engineers Finance and Accounting Regulation ER 37-2-30 and EC 11-2-192, Execution of the Annual Civil Works Program specify how funds are to be expended. FY 2006 and 2008 Appropriations Acts limited reprogramming and the use of continuing contracts. ER 5-1-11 Business Process.
Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?
Explanation: For operation and maintenance activities, the Corps is undergoing a High Performing Organization study to determine the most efficient personnel organization for its locks and facilities. Facilities are reviewed periodically for security, information technology, and process automation to improve efficiency. The Construction program has procedures to promote and measure efficiency and effectiveness in program execution through project management, peer review, value engineering and project sponsor involvement to ensure work is accomplished with the least total project cost. The program has implemented a Project Delivery Team (PDT) approach to project implementation. The PDT role is to design the project to ensure effective accomplishments and execution of an efficient and cost effective project process. The use of competitive sourcing and fixed price contracts is another example of cost efficiency contracting tool. There are processes in place through peer review to ensure effective accomplishments and execution of an efficient and cost effective project. In the project implementation phases, each project undergoes value engineering analysis to identify ways to construct the project more inexpensively and efficiently. The principals of cost sharing with non-Federal project sponsors (Inland Waterways Users Board) result in a strong incentive to achieve cost efficiencies and an effective project.
Evidence: ER 11-1-321, Army Programs, Value Engineering; A-76 Guidance; Contracting regulations; solicitations; and bid opening results.
Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?
Explanation: The Corps, along with its Federal, state, local and private industry partners collaborate to provide a safe, efficient, effective, secure, and environmentally responsible waterway system. The Corps also works closely with the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation to exchange infomration and provide support to the Saint Lawrence Seaway and the Tennessee Valley Authoirty, where the Corps operates and maintains 10 of TVA's locks and dams.
Evidence: The Corps is a member of the Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS), a partnership of Federal agencies with responsibility for the Marine Transportation System (MTS) - waterways, ports, and their intermodal connections - to ensure the development and implementation of national MTS policies consistent with national needs and report to the President its views and recommendations for improving the MTS. The Corps is also a member of the Inland Waterways User Board and Mississippi River Commission and participates in numbers meetings, conferences and forums with intermodal (trucking, rail, port and waterways) stakeholders to address what is needed to meet the nation's navigation needs. The Corps' Great Lakes Navigation System Review, 2003. MOA between the Corps of Engneers and TVA.
Does the program use strong financial management practices?
Explanation: The Corps uses a real time database, the Corps of Engineers Financial Management System (CEFMS), which accurately records appropriations, obligations, and disbursements that meet statutory requirements. This system also supports the day-to-day operations of the program and is free of material internal control weakness reported by auditors. It provides strong monthly and annual financial statements used to manage the program.
Evidence: CEFMS records, ER 37-2-10, Financial Administration - Accounting and Reporting - Civil Works Activities; ER 5-1-11 Business Process; EC 11-1-192; ER 415-1-16 Construction Fiscal Management Spending.
Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?
Explanation: The Corps uses yearly evaluations at the national, regional, and field operations levels to identify and correct management deficiencies.
Evidence: Management deficiencies are identified through a proven internal control procedure developed by the Corps management audit program and governed by a Engineering Regulation 11-1-30, USACE Internal Management Control Program (http://www.usace.army.mil/publications/eng-regs/er11-1-30/entire.pdf). This management control system is common to all business programs in the Corps. This program and yearly evaluation is applied at the national program level, the regional level, and the field operations level. There are mandatory corrective actions as a result of this program.
Is the program managed by maintaining clearly defined deliverables, capability/performance characteristics, and appropriate, credible cost and schedule goals?
Explanation: Corps inland navigation system has a performance goal of system availability and development and construction of justified rehabilitations or new facilities. Definable "deliverables" relate to O&M packages and to completion of a construction project (either rehab or new project.) Feasibility studies and major rehabilitation reports are required to document estimated costs and schedules for construction. Budget requests are also required to reflect realistic costs and schedules. However, since projects are typically not constructed until several years after reports are completed, and budgets are formulated 18 -24 months in advance of the actual work being performed, financial and project conditions frequently change, necessitating changes to overall project costs and schedules.
Evidence: Corps FY budget data contains overall expenditure and completion schedules. Internal "operating budget" at each District breaks out expenditure schedules by month. Recently, the Corps has adopted a performance measure where it compares the estimated costs of completed projects with the projected benefits to ensure that the project's benefit cost ratio is maintained.
|Section 3 - Program Management||Score||100%|
|Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability|
Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?
Explanation: Since the 1960's, the Corps has invested heavily in the maintenance and rehabilitation of the Nation's three busiest inland waterways (the Ohio River, the Mississippi River, and the Illinois Waterway), which handle the vast majority of all inland waterways traffic. The Corps periodically evaluates the condition of all locks and dams on these waterways and has concluded that the existing locks can continue to process tows safely and reliably for the next 50 years as long as we continue to invest prudently in their maintenance and rehabilitation. Inland waterways projects are generally safe and reliable. The Corps does an excellent job of responding to emergency breakdowns when they occur. The program is developing nationwide condition risk assessment procedures for use in conducting evaluations of its locks and dams, in order to improve its ability to compare the extent to which the components of each project are at risk.
Evidence: The Corps has made investments to increase transport efficiency and decrease waiting times and has operated and maintained the system. The Corps continues to construct and rehabilitate waterway locks to move traffic more efficiently, the latest being the new lock at Marmet on the Kanawha River. However, there is still congestion at key locks. The Corps has kept the system in running order, but maintenance backlogs have increased. The number of scheduled and unscheduled lock closure hours increased from 27,213 hours in 2001 to 49,318 in 2005, and has decreased to 38,541 in 2007. While this measure shows an overall increase since 2001, the Corps has done a commendable job of avoiding long-term (multi-week) unscheduled closures that could prove disastrous to supply chain systems. The FY 2008 and FY 2009 budgets gave maintenance priority to high-use segments such as the Ohio River, Mississippi River, and Illinois Waterway, over low use segments. The FY 2009 and 2010 budget EC guidance require a risk assessment, and gave higher priority to maintenance items with a greater risk of failure.
Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?
Explanation: The Corps of Engineers, using limited funds provided from general appropriations and the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, provides a safe, reliable, efficient, and environmentally sustainable navigation system. Funds are prioritized and used to fund the most critical work items, based upon risk and criticality of the waterway, to reduce lock closures due to mechanically driven failures; increase the percentage of funding to construct, replace, and expand projects with high return investments; and to reduce the total O&M funds expended per segment ton-mile averaged over a five-year period.
Evidence: Based on data from the Lock Performance Management System, the scheduled and unscheduled closures due to mechanically driven failures have decreased from 49,318 hours in 2005 to 38,541 hours in 2007. FY 2009 and FY 2010 Budget guidance focusses on funding the most critical work packages and high use waterways.
Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?
Explanation: Key investments have enabled system throughput to rise over time to meet growing demands. The results of a cost-savings initiative for operations have been implemented Corps-wide. New technologies have been applied to reduce the duration of scheduled and unscheduled outages. Beginning in FY 2002, budgets have proposed redirecting funds from low-use segments (<1 million-ton-miles) that provide lesser economic return to high-use (>1million ton segments) that provide higher economic return for the constrained O&M dollars.
Evidence: A Development Program to reduce costs has produced several innovations. "Float in" (components constructed of site and hauled in by water) and "in the wet" (working on construction in the water) technology is expect to save a total of $74 M at the new Braddock Locks and Dam on the Monongahela River (PA) and the Olmsted Locks and Dam on the Ohio River. The McAlpine Lock incorporates roller compacted concrete for lock chamber facilities and is expected to save $51M during its construction. J.T. Myers Lock extension uses "in-the-wet" construction and is expected to provide $22M in construction cost savings. A new gate lifter (the SHREVE) can reduce the "down time" for lock miter gate replacement from 30 days to 7 days.
Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?
Explanation: Corps inland navigation waterway navigation facilities compare favorable with the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC). There is one major difference between the SLSDC and Corps systems and that is the SLSDC system shuts down for 4 months each year during the winter due to ice conditions. This provides the opportunity to complete non-routine maintenance work during the closed season, resulting in improved lock availability during the navigation season. The vast majority of the Corps inland navigation systems operate year-round with closures to perform non-routine repairs having to be scheduled during the year. These schedules are coordinated with stakeholders to minimize adverse impact to shipping schedules and product deliveries. Corps inland waterway navigation facilities provide an alternative method of transporting non-perishable goods, including movement of military equipment and supplies.
Evidence: Published SLSDC data indicates a favorable comparison. Published data confirms that Inland Waterway compares favorably with domestic competitors, but data for international waterway comparisons are needed. When traveling between two fixed points on a waterway, transportation by water is generally less costly to the shipper and more fuel-efficient. On average, barges move a ton of cargo 514 miles per gallon of fuel, compared with 202 miles per gallon by rail or 59 miles per gallon by truck. However, the movement of freight on the inland waterways is often only a portion of the total trip. For exports, the total distance traveled is often less when the overland portion is by rail. If the rail is closer than the inland waterways to the point of origin or destination within the United States for the shipment, the total trip will involve less travel by truck. Inland waterways also require dredging and other fuel-intensive activities. The transportation savings that result from the use of the inland waterways are shared among the barge companies, those who produce and consume the goods that they ship, and intermediaries such as exporters and importers. While the commercial users of the inland waterways pay an excise tax of 20 cents per gallon on diesel fuel, this covers less than 10 percent of the total cost that the Corps incurs to make barge transportation possible on these waterways.
Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?
Explanation: USACE conducts an annual Civil Works (CW) customer survey using an OMB approved format. Navigation stakeholders are a large percentage of the CW customers. 2006 was the first year of this Corps-wide survey - it was repeated in 2007. The 24 questionnaire items measure general services and are grouped into one of seven categories: 'Attitude', 'Products and Services', 'Corps Staff', 'Timely Service', 'Cost and Affordability', 'Communication' and 'Overall Satisfaction'. Items were rated on a 5-point Likert scale where 1=Low and 5=High. The 2007 survey results will be available by 15 April 2008. This program undergoes evaluations of sufficient scope and quality that indicate that the program is effectively achieving results. The program employed the National Academy of Science to do a comprehensive review of the program study procedures with a goal of improving the planning process. The NAS review found the planning program to be relative effective and made recommendations for improvement including more regular independent review of study outcomes. The Corps performs economic feasibility analyzes of investments in new facilities and major rehabilitations. New investments are reviewed through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process by the public, interest groups and other Federal agencies. Regarding operations, the Corps performed a benefit/cost analysis to justify current operations of total inland waterway program.
Evidence: There were 154 navigation stakeholder responses in the 753 customers responding to the 2006 survey. Navigation customers highest rating was for the Corps staff, with a 4.48 rating. The lowest score was for timeliness, with a 3.99 rating. As for program effectiveness and results the following 3 questions are considered the most fitting: 1) My Overall satisfaction with Corps products and services. 2) I would recommend the Corps of Engineers. 3) The Corps of Engineers would be my choice for future projects and services. The composite score for Navigation respondents was 4.3 in these areas. The Corps' overall cost benefit analysis using figures from between 1995 and 1999 show an annual cost savings (benefits) of $6,583.6 million at an average O&M cost of $476.57 million for a benefit to cost ratio of 13.81. This finding is applicable to the overall program, but not to the low-use segments.
Were program goals achieved within budgeted costs and established schedules?
Explanation: The Inland Waterways User Board has questioned the cost of some inland waterways construction, expansion, and replacement projects (which are higher or in some cases much higher than the original cost estimate) and the length of time that it has taken to plan and build some of these projects. The operation and maintenance program generally stays within budget and meets its annual schedules.
Evidence: Users monitor construction costs because they share them. Operating costs do not concern partners because they do not pay. Projects are authorized with a cost-ceiling that allows for a maximum of a 25 percent increase in constant dollars. Congress must approve projects exceeding the maximum.
|Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability||Score||44%|