A Water Resources Development Act is typically passed by Congress every 2 years to authorize studies and projects by the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Division. These projects include navigation projects (dredging), flood, hurricane, and storm reduction shoreline projection, and ecosystem restoration. Support for these types of projects are critical to the continued growth of the U.S. marine transportation system. It is important for Clubs to check with the ports and waterways associations in their area regarding this legislation and then sharing your views with your Members of Congress and the Senate.
House of Representatives:
- January 14, 2020, the Chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure requested information from each Member of Congress regarding potential projects in their Congressional District.
- On January 9, 2020 the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment held a hearing on proposals for a Water Resources Development Act of 2020 and received testimony from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The hearing can be viewed at this link: Jan 9 WRDA hearing
- On February 27, 2020, the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment held a hearing to receive testimony from Members of Congress to receive their views on issues of importance as the Subcommittee develops the Water Resources Development Act of 2020. The hearing can be viewed at this link: Feb 27 WRDA Members hearing
- On July 15, 2020, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure ordered reported to the Full House H.R. 7575, the Water Resources Development Act of 2020. Among other changes to the current law, WRDA 2020 would change the cost sharing for inland waterways projects from 50/50 Federal /Inland Waterway Trust Fund (IWTF) to 65% Federal / 35% IWTF; expand the regional dredging pilot program; authorizes all 34 pending projects recommended by the Army Corps of Engineers; authorizes 35 feasibility studies; directs 5 comprehensive river basin studies; authorizes appropriations for the current surplus in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund of $10 billion. The full text of H.R. 7575 can be found at this link: HR7575IH
- On April 22, 2020, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works released a draft bipartisan WRDA 2020 bill, titled “America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 which would authorize $17 billion in infrastructure. The draft legislation by be viewed here: Draft AWIA 2020
- On May 6, 2020 the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works marked out and reported to the full Senate by a vote of 21-0 the bill S. 3591 the “America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020”. Title I of this legislation is the traditional Water Resources Development including dredging, locks and dams, and other waterway infrastructure projects. In addition to projects, this legislation contains many substantive changes to law such as changing the cost sharing for projects funded from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund from 50% Trust Fund revenues and 50% from the budget of the Army Corps of Engineers to 35% from the Trust Fund and 65% from the Army Corps. The full text of this legislation can be viewed at this link: S. 3591RS
Support for WRDA:
- On May 29, 2020, IPCUS joined the American Association of Port Authorities and other maritime organizations to the leadership of the U.S. Senate requesting that any Water Resources Development Act that is considered in the Senate include legislative language that ensures that funds appropriated from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be equitably distribute around the United States using a proposal called the “HMT Finale”.