Money in hand for customs makeover

The Office of Management and Budget has approved the first infusion of cash this year for Customs' modernization program, assuring that the project will continue on schedule this year.

The agency plans to award a $1.3 billion contract to modernize a 17-year-old system that continually breaks down, replacing it with a state-of-the-art system.

OMB gave the green light to Customs on March 22 by approving $45 million, the first installment of $130 million earmarked this year, according to Charles Armstrong, executive director of Customs modernization.

"The funding is in place," Armstrong said.

Congressional appropriations committees have 30 days to approve the money, according to Armstrong, but it already has passed a review process that included certifying that the project complied with enterprise architecture rules and followed federal acquisition regulations.

"This is the last stop in the process to award the money," said Customs spokesman Dennis Murphy.

He said Customs plans to award the prime contract for the modernization program on April 25.

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