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Recovery Act Frequently Asked Questions - Civil Works Project Selection

Q1: What does the Corps hope to do with the Civil Works funds provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA or Recovery Act) of 2009?
A: The Corps will use Recovery Act funds to meet the intent of the President and Congress to quickly put our fellow citizens to work and to help in the recovery of the nation’s economy. Furthermore, the Recovery Act-funded Civil Works projects will continue to provide benefits and services for the nation well after the Recovery Act funding period is complete.

Q2: How much money is appropriated to the Corps in the Recovery Act for Civil Works?
A: The Recovery Act provides $4.6 billion for the Civil Works program. These funds are broken out by account as follows:
  • Operation and Maintenance $2.075 billion
  • Construction $2 billion
  • Mississippi Rivers and Tributaries $375 million
  • Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program $100 million
  • Investigations $25 million
  • Regulatory Program $25 million
Q3: How will Corps Civil Works projects funded by the Recovery Act contribute to the recovery of the nation’s economy?
A: Economists estimate the Corps’ Recovery Act appropriation will create or maintain approximately 57,400 direct construction industry jobs and an additional 64,000 indirect and induced jobs in firms supplying or supporting the construction industry and the businesses that sell goods and services to these workers and their families.

In addition, the Corps Civil Works projects accomplished through Recovery Act funding will continue to contribute to the nation’s safety, economy, environment, and quality of life long past the Recovery Act funding period.

Q4: What criteria did the Corps apply in developing its list of projects to fund with Recovery Act dollars?
A: The Civil Works projects will further these Recovery Act stated purposes:

Purposes of the Law:
  • To preserve and create jobs and promote recovery
  • To invest in transportation, environmental protection and other infrastructure that will provide long term economic benefits
 The Corps will follow the Recovery Act’s General Principle to manage and expend funds so as to achieve the Act’s stated purposes, including commencing expenditures and activities as quickly as possible consistent with prudent management.

Furthermore, the Civil Works allocations are fully consistent with the President’s direction provided in the Executive Memorandum of 20 March 2009 – Ensuring Responsible Spending of Recovery Act Funds. The President directed agencies to ensure that Recovery Act funds are spent responsibly and transparently and that projects are selected on merit-based principles.

The Civil Works allocations are consistent with additional project selection criteria provided in the Congressional Committee report accompanying the Act that projects, programs or activities (PPAs) to be accomplished with Recovery Act dollars will:
  • Be obligated/executed quickly;
  • Result in high, immediate employment;
  • Have little schedule risk;
  • Be executed by contract or direct hire of temporary labor; and
  • Complete a project phase, a project, an element, or will provide a useful service that does not require additional funding.
 In addition, as stipulated in the Recovery Act, no funds are used for any PPA that, at the time of the obligation, had not previously received Energy and Water Development Act appropriated funds. In other words, no new starts can receive Recovery Act funds.

Q5: Can the Corps complete all the projects that meet the criteria of the Recovery Act with the $4.6 billion appropriated?
A: No, but the $4.6 billion will enable the Corps to make significant progress on ongoing construction projects and needed maintenance work while putting people to work.

Q6: What happens to those Recovery Act-eligible projects that aren’t being funded?
A: The Corps will continue to allocate funding provided in the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act and will consider these projects for additional funding in the 2010 and future budgets.

Q7: How did the Corps decide on what to fund from among the eligible projects?
A: The Corps applied the selection criteria which largely revolved around contracts that could be awarded and completed quickly. The wide geographic distribution of selected projects spreads the employment and other economic benefits across the United States and across Civil Works programs to provide the nation with project benefits related to inland and coastal navigation, the environment, flood and storm damage reduction, hydropower, recreation, and more.

Q8: How many Civil Works projects did the Corps select to fund with Recovery Act dollars in the released project lists?
A: The Corps selected approximately 172 Construction projects, 523 Operation and Maintenance projects, 45 MR&T projects, 64 Investigations studies and projects, and nine Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) projects. These projects or useful increments of these projects will be completed with Recovery Act funding.

Q9: How will the Regulatory Program Recovery Act funds be used?
A: The funds will be distributed to Corps districts, based on work load, to accelerate regulatory processes for non-federal investments that need permits.

Q10: Do all 50 states have projects selected for Civil Works Recovery Act funding in the lists released today?
A: No. 49 of the 50 states have stimulus funding in the project lists released today. Only Wyoming is not represented, because no eligible work on any ongoing Civil Works activity was available.

Q11: There must have been many eligible projects that closely matched one another for cost and benefits. What additional criteria did the Corps use to decide to choose from among those?
A: For those Recovery Act-eligible projects that have approximately equivalent long-term economic benefits or environmental values priority was given to the work that could be initiated and completed the soonest.

Q12: Does the Recovery Act place any deadlines on the Corps to expend the appropriated funds?
A: Yes, all unobligated funds, with some exceptions, expire at the end of fiscal 2010, 30 September 2010. The Recovery Act does provide for obligations to be made past that date in the Investigations, Construction, Mississippi River and Tributaries, Operation and Maintenance, and FUSRAP accounts for “associated” Engineering and Design (E&D), Supervision and Administration (S&A), and subsequent claims, if any. “Associated” means those activities related to the execution of contracts that will have been awarded with Recovery Act funds through FY 2010. The Act also permits up to ½ percent of Civil Works Recovery Act funds to be used for oversight. The oversight funds expire at the end of FY 2012 (September 30, 2012).

Q13: Are there any requirements in the Recovery Act for the Corps to use the Civil Works appropriation for environmental infrastructure projects?
A: Yes. The act requires the Corps spend not less than $200 million from the Recovery Act Construction account on environmental infrastructure projects.

Q14: I'm a contractor interested in bidding on Corps Recovery Act projects. How do I find information on what contracts the Corps is advertising for Recovery Act projects?

A. Information on the contracts the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has advertised in support of Recovery Act projects is available on the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) website, https://www.fbo.gov.
  • On https://www.fbo.gov, a search capability is available for Recovery Solicitations (red button “Search Recovery Opportunities” at the right side of the page) and Recovery Contract Awards (blue button “Search Recovery Awards” at the right side of the page.
  • On either the “Opportunities” or “Awards” pages, click on the green “Refine Results” tab at the top left side of the page. Type in “USACE” and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opportunities or awards will be listed.
If interested in an “Opportunity” on the Federal Business Opportunities Home Page, https://www.fbo.gov, click “Register Now” in the Vendors/Citizens block. Complete the appropriate forms stated in the FedBizOpps or provided in the synopsis/ solicitation and return them to the Point of Contact mentioned within the synopsis/solicitation.

Q15: Will all contracts associated with Recovery Act projects be competitively bid, or does some of the money go to existing contracts/contractors for ongoing projects?
A: The large majority of contracts will be competitively bid. Most of the stimulus projects will be procured with new contracts. Some contracts will be awarded by issuing task orders on existing contracts generally referred to as Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts or Multiple Award Task Order Contracts (MATOC). The MATOC and IDIQ contracts were competitively bid at an earlier date. At this time we are unable to specify what projects will be procured in what fashion.

Q16: Does the Corps have a list of contractors that I can get on to compete for contracts?
A: There are two ways you can compete for contracting opportunities, 1) you can continue to watch the FedBizOpps website and compete that way for projects, or 2) you can register at www.englink.usace.army.mil for our USACE Emergency Contracting website.

Q17: Has the Corps set aside Recovery Act money specifically for small businesses to compete for?
A: Small business plays a critical role in stimulating economic growth and creating jobs. USACE will provide maximum practicable opportunities for small businesses to compete for USACE contracts and to participate as subcontractors. The Corps will adhere to its existing, aggressive small business goals established by the Department of the Army. The regulations and policies that are in place for procuring small business projects will be implemented in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) PART 19.

Q18: Are there any limitations on the type of small business that can compete for the Small Business set-aside dollars?
A: The types of small businesses that the Federal Government contracts for on a set-aside basis are listed in Federal Acquisition Regulation Part (FAR) 19. There are no new small business set-aside limitations as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Q19: Is there an approved list of Small Businesses that I need to be on to compete for the Corps contracts?
A: No. There is no approved list of Small Businesses that a firm needs to be on to compete for new U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contracts. Registration in the Central Contractor Registration database, which is not an approved list, is the only requirement.

Q20: Where do I go to find information about Small Business opportunities for stimulus projects?
A: Visit the FedBizOpps website homepage, https://www.fbo.gov and view the solicitation under the red “Recovery Opportunities” button on the right side of the page.

Q21: I have a small company and would like to work as a subcontractor for prime vendors. How do I find information on those opportunities?
A: One of the ways to look for subcontracting opportunities is to look at the Small Business Administration (SBA) subcontracting website: http://web.sba.gov/subnet.

Q22: Where do I go to find the Small Business Specialist for a certain area?
A: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a Small Business deputy at each district and center. For more information, visit our Small Business page.