Oct 11 2018 0

Congress Overwhelmingly Approves WRDA-2018, Legislation Heads to White House for President Trump’s Signature

Critical water infrastructure projects will improve our Nation’s ports, harbors, and waterways, create good-paying American jobs, and incentivize businesses to buy and use American products

Today (October 10, 2018), the US Senate voted 99-1 in favor of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018/Water Resources Development Act otherwise known as WRDA 2018.  In September, the Bill passed in the US House by unanimous voice vote (435-0).

Commenting on passage of the legislation, William P. Doyle, CEO and Executive Director of the Dredging Contractors of America said, “America needs this comprehensive water infrastructure legislation.”  Doyle continued, “This legislation cuts bureaucratic red tape, it creates jobs, and keeps our coastal communities, ports, harbors, and inland waterway system safe.  It will grow the nation’s economy and speed up important projects.  We look forward to President Trump signing the legislation into law.”

WRDA 2018 authorizes at least $9 billion for Army Corps of Engineers civil-works projects and Environmental Protection Agency drinking-water and sewer-overflow control programs.  These authorizations still require annual appropriations before construction contracts for those projects can move forward.

A central part of the measure is a new Water Resources Development Act title, which authorizes $3.7 billion in federal funds for 12 Corps dredging, flood protection and other projects. When non-federal funding shares are added, those projects’ combined is about $5.6 billion.  This includes $2.2 billion for flood protection and ecosystem restoration along the Texas Gulf Coast.

In addition, the WRDA title includes enhanced funding for the already under-construction projects for the deepening of Savannah Harbor in Georgia and replacement for the Chickamauga Lock on the Tennessee River.  There is also a project modification for a new 1,200-ft-long Soo Lock in Michigan, not yet started.

Salient Points of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018/Water Resources Development Act:

  • Ensure that America maintains the competitiveness of our coastal and inland ports, and maintain the navigability of our inland waterways;
  • Create a new framework to allow for more Army Corps projects to be budgeted with increased local stakeholder input and expanded transparency;
  • Beneficial Use of Dredged Material – increases the number of authorized pilot projects from 10 to 20;
  • Authorize or reauthorize important water infrastructure programs and projects
  • Include billions of dollars in deauthorizations – making the legislation fiscally responsible;
  • Authorize federal funding for water infrastructure projects, which leverages billions in water infrastructure spending;
  • Reduce flooding risks for rural, western, and coastal communities.

The Dredging Contractors America appreciates the opportunity to work with an impressive and broad coalition of stakeholders in developing and supporting America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018/Water Resources Development Act 2018.

DCA’s William Doyle concluded, ” It’s been terrific working with the American Association of Port Authorities, Lakes Carriers’ Association, Associated General Contractors of America, National Sand Stone & Gravel Association, American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, National Waterways Conference, and the Transportation Trades Department, Metal Trades Department and Maritime Trades Department — all three departments of the AFL-CIO.”

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