An aerial view of Tybee Island Beach as Hurricane Florence approached North Carolina on Sept. 14, 2018. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

White House: Trump won’t tap Tybee, natural disaster funding to bankroll wall

Unclear if Savannah port, Ga. military construction money could be diverted

President Donald Trump does not plan to divert money from a nearly $14 billion account at the Army Corps of Engineers to cover the wall, according to White House spokesman Hogan Gidley.  

“The President met with leadership of the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss methods of construction for the barriers along the southern border, but they did not discuss, and there are no plans to take money from disaster relief funding to pay for any potential projects,” Gidley said.  

The statement came after a deluge of media reports indicated the administration was seriously eyeing the corps’ disaster recovery account, which includes $13 million to help Tybee Island rebuild its sand dunes after hurricanes Matthew and Irma.  

Trump could tap certain corps and military construction funds that haven’t already been parceled out to contractors if he were to declare a national emergency, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. Trump has openly mulled the emergency designation in recent days to circumvent Congress on funding for the wall, but on Friday he said he wouldn’t do so “right now.”  

The White House did not say on Saturday whether Trump was actively eyeing other corps or military construction accounts, which are the source of funding for more than a half-dozen current projects at Georgia’s Fort Benning, Fort Gordon and Robins Air Force Base, as well as the Savannah harbor’s high-profile deepening work

Read more: Search for wall funds could hit Georgia projects

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