The Corp of Engineers is about to be on the path to some major changes under new legislation that’s nearly been set into law. The America’s Water Infrastructure Act reforms the Corp, and gives states the option to take more direct controls of flood prevention and hurricane protection projects.

Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says this could speed up nearly 100 billion in backlogged projects.

“Incredibly about one third of those projects, 30 billion dollars of them, are in the state of Louisiana.”

The law has been sent to the President’s desk, and he’s expected to sign it soon.

Under the bill, the Corp will be moved out of the Department of Defense and turned into a civilian agency tasked with administering massive domestic projects. Graves says it’s nothing against the DoD, but they’ve got a lot of overseas concerns these days.

“This mission while it’s critical to us, it can’t necessarily be the top priority of the secretary of the defense with all of the other things they have to deal with.”

The Corp is a 216 year-old organization.

The Republican from Baton Rouge also noted that the legislation will allow local governments a lot more say so in the construction of vital protection projects, projects that have a decades old backlog.

“We have provisions in there that allow for local governments or state governments to take the lead on these projects to take it away from the Corp, to take the funding away and let them lead the project.