House overwhelmingly approves Water Resources Development Act

September 28, the House of Representatives approved the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016 (H.R. 5303), a comprehensive, bipartisan legislation to address the needs of America’s harbors, locks, dams, flood protection and other water resources infrastructure.

The legislation passed the House by a vote of 399 to 25.

“This bill is fundamental to America’s competitiveness and gets Congress back to the regular business of addressing some of our most pressing infrastructure needs. An efficient maritime and waterways transportation system is fundamental to the country’s economy,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), sponsor of the legislation. “The process reforms Congress put in place in the 2014 water resources bill are working. Enacting a WRDA bill every two years is essential to maintaining an efficient transportation system, moving commerce effectively and promoting economic growth throughout the country.” 

“Water infrastructure is a key component to our nation’s transportation and logistics network. A reliable port and inland waterway system ensures goods can move quickly and affordably to facilitate trade and benefit American consumers. This bill utilizes the reforms from WRRDA 2014, using a transparent process driven by local stakeholders and promoting fiscal responsibility by fully offsetting costs with deauthorization of outdated projects,” said Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-OH), cosponsor of H.R. 5303.

WRDA 2016 contains no earmarks, maintains the strong bipartisan reforms included in the WRRDA 2014 and adheres to the new transparent process established in that law for congressional review of proposed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water resources development activities.

Following the oversight and review process set forth in the 2014 law, WRDA 2016 authorizes infrastructure improvements that have been proposed at the local level, reviewed by the Corps according to strict congressionally established criteria and submitted to Congress for consideration.

“The House and Senate now need to finish their work and send a final WRDA measure to the President before the end of the year,” said Shuster. “We can’t afford to delay this critical bill.”

Maritime Editorial