October 04, 2013

Committee Passes Water Resources Reform and Development Act

Washington, DC – The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure today unanimously approved bipartisan water resources reform legislation that cuts federal red tape and bureaucracy, streamlines the infrastructure project delivery process, fosters fiscal responsibility, and strengthens our water transportation networks to promote America’s competitiveness, prosperity, and economic growth.

H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (WRRDA), was introduced in the House by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Committee Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV), Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-OH), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Tim Bishop (D-NY). 

Through WRRDA, Congress authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out its missions to develop, maintain, and support the Nation’s vital port and waterways infrastructure needs, and support effective and targeted flood protection and environmental restoration needs.  Historically, Congress has passed such legislation every two years to provide clear direction to the Administration and the Corps, but no bill has been signed into law since 2007. 

“WRRDA is the most policy and reform focused legislation of its kind in the last two decades,” Shuster said.  “This bill contains no earmarks and makes reforms needed to increase transparency, accountability, and Congressional oversight of federal water resources development.  At its heart, WRRDA is about jobs and improving America’s competitiveness.  A strong water transportation network is critical to keeping pace with other nations that are improving their own infrastructure networks and gaining ground in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.”

“This bill invests in our infrastructure and represents one of the only jobs bills that has been considered in this Congress,” said Rahall.  “It boosts our ports, allows commodities to move more efficiently along our inland waterways, and enables our water transportation network to support increased economic opportunity.  I hope that the full House can approve this measure with the same strong bipartisan spirit that our Committee has displayed in advancing it today.”

“Today the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee considered the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013.  Historically, Congress has passed legislation pertaining to these issues every two years, but a WRRDA bill has not been to the House floor since 2007,” said Chairman Gibbs. “This bipartisan legislation cuts red tape and streamlines the infrastructure project process while promoting fiscal responsibility and strengthening our maritime transportation networks.  WRRDA champions job growth that will uphold our transportation infrastructure, and preserves our nation’s competiveness. I look forward to WRRDA heading to the House floor this fall.”

“This markup continues our bipartisan work to spur job creation and lay the foundation for sustained economic growth with strategic investments in America’s aging harbor and inland waterway infrastructure,” said Bishop.  “America needs a 21st century infrastructure to compete in a global economy, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure we make the necessary investments in our ports and rivers.”


Highlights of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013

Reforms Bureaucracy, Accelerates Project Delivery, and Streamlines Environmental Reviews

•  Sets hard deadlines on the time and cost of studies

•  Consolidates or eliminates duplicative or unnecessary studies and requires concurrent reviews 

•  Streamlines environmental reviews

Fiscally Responsible

•  Deauthorizes $12 billion of old, inactive projects that were authorized prior to WRDA 2007

•  Fully offsets new authorizations with deauthorizations

•  Sunsets new authorizations to prevent future project backlogs

•  Reduces the inventory of properties that are not needed for the missions of the Corps

Strengthens Oversight, Transparency, and Accountability

•  NO earmarks

•  Establishes a new, transparent process for future bills to review and prioritize water resources development activities with strong Congressional oversight 

Increases Flexibility for Non-Federal Interests

•  Maximizes the ability of non-federal interests to contribute their own funds to move authorized studies and projects forward

•  Expands the ability of non-federal interests to contribute funds to expedite the evaluation and processing of permits

•  Establishes a Water Infrastructure Public Private Partnership Program

Improves Competitiveness, Creates Jobs, and Strengthens Water Resources Infrastructure

•  Authorizes needed investments in America’s ports

•  Supports underserved, emerging ports

•  Reforms and preserves the Inland Waterways Trust Fund

•  Authorizes priority water resources infrastructure improvements recommended by the Chief of the Army Corps of Engineers to improve navigation and commerce and address flood risk management, hurricane and storm damage risk reduction, and environmental restoration needs

Click here for more information about WRRDA, including bill and amendment text, as well as a document describing the importance of WRRDA and how it will improve American infrastructure and competitiveness. 

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