The Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA) was approved as part of the year-end omnibus and COVID-relief legislative package.
This bipartisan legislation, which the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has developed and passed on a biennial basis since 2014, is essential to our country’s ports, harbors, and inland waterways, as well as ecosystem restoration and flood mitigation in both rural and urban communities. The language approved is the result of negotiations with the Senate since House passage of H.R. 7575 in late July and S. 1811 in early December.
Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Grace F. Napolitano (D-Calif.), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ariz.) all applauded the House for approving the legislation.
“The bipartisan legislation approved today is critical to communities across all 50 states, and includes key provisions to invest in our ports, harbors and inland waterways; build more resilient communities; and ensure that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers carries out projects in an economically and environmentally responsible manner,” DeFazio said. “I am particularly proud that this legislation achieves my decades-long mission to unlock the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund by allowing billions of dollars in already-collected HMTF fees to be used for their intended purpose – ensuring that maintenance needs of U.S. ports and harbors are met. In addition to our Senate partners, I thank Subcommittee Chair Napolitano and Ranking Members Graves and Westerman for their continued efforts to push this legislation forward and send it to the president’s desk for his signature.”
“WRDA 2020 will help strengthen the nation’s global competitiveness, grow the economy, protect our communities, and create jobs. In particular, the vital flood control and risk reduction improvements in this bill will help safeguard communities throughout North Missouri and around the country. In working to finalize this critical water resources legislation, I want to thank my colleagues in both the House and Senate. It’s important that Congress is maintaining its regular oversight of the Corps of Engineers and continuing consideration of WRDA every two years. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation remains a model for how Congress can work together to address our nation’s infrastructure needs,” Graves said.
The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) praised the passage of the legislation.
“WRDA reauthorization is a critical bill to ensure the Army Corps of Engineers can address those vital infrastructure projects that enhance our national waterways; improve port infrastructure; protect our shorelines; and strengthen those areas prone to flooding and natural disasters,” said NSSGA Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs Michele Stanley. “This provision ensures precious Harbor Maintenance Trust Funds are available for projects that qualify and increases dredging through our waterway system, dramatically improving waterway traffic and advancing our national economy. NSSGA members across the country are directly involved with these water infrastructure projects.
“We applaud the efforts of both the Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House for working together and continuing negotiations to include WRDA 2020 in the omnibus package.
“WRDA 2020 illustrates what can be accomplished when bi-partisanship and common-sense solutions are prioritized, and we hope this tone continues into the 117th Congress as infrastructure is expected to become a national legislative priority.
“In the next Congress, NSSGA will continue to work with Congressional stakeholders on both sides of the aisle to advance all effective infrastructure policies. And we hope the good-faith negotiations and pragmaticism that WRDA 2020 achieved is replicated, as Congress must tackle issues such as a multi-year highway reauthorization bill, a financially insolvent Highway Trust Fund, and pandemic relief for State Departments of Transportation agencies – all items that NSSGA fully support,” Stanley concluded.