Water Resources and Development Act a Win for Industry

The U.S. Senate approved a reauthorization of the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) by a vote of 99-1,sending the two-year bill to the president’s desk. 

The bipartisan America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, S. 3021, is the most sweeping infrastructure package to be considered this Congress. It grows the economy, keeps communities safe, cuts red tape and is fiscally responsible. 

It will ensure certainty for aggregates producers and the equipment manufacturers who support them as they rely on the movement of goods through ports and inland waterways as well as producing the stone, sand and gravel to build our nation’s water transportation infrastructure, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. Additionally, S. 3021 builds upon current regulatory improvements within the Army Corps to improve and accelerate project delivery.

“America needs comprehensive water infrastructure legislation that will cut Washington red tape, create jobs and keep communities safe,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

The Highway Materials Group expressed its support for the comprehensive legislation in a letter sent to Senate offices. “Maintaining a two-year cycle of WRDA authorization is critical for the long-term planning, maintenance and improvements of America’s locks, dams, harbors, ports, waterways, flood protection, and similar resources and infrastructure. Passing this bill provides certainty for communities and industries that rely on maritime infrastructure,” the group wrote.

“America’s water infrastructure, from waterways to drinking water systems, will remain strong thanks to Congress,” said Portland Cement Association (PCA) President and CEO Michael Ireland. “Concrete is a central component in many of these projects, where resiliency and life-cycle cost are huge assets. PCA is grateful Congress has adopted many of the provisions supported by the cement and concrete industry and we urge President Trump to sign the bill into law.”

“This bill is a major achievement for Congress, the North American Concrete Alliance (NACA) and its members,” American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association President and CEO Richard Mueller said. “NACA has been working to educate lawmakers about America’s massive water infrastructure needs and the benefits of using cement and concrete to build for the long-term. Those messages clearly resonated and the result is one of the most important pieces of water infrastructure legislation in a quarter century.” 

“We are pleased that WRDA Reauthorization encourages resilient techniques by the Corps to ensure extreme weather mitigation and to provide a return on investment by encouraging resilient construction techniques,” said Danielle Kleinhans, president and CEO of the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute.

Elements of the legislation most widely supported by the construction materials industry include:

  • Increasing infrastructure investment in waterway and flood control, including $6.1 billion for 12 new Army Corps of Engineers projects.
  • Reauthorizing water infrastructure construction programs like the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act
  • Measures encouraging resilient and durable construction techniques using concrete.

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