Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) today celebrated the passage of the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014, containing major recommendations of the Capital Development Plan (CDP*). WCI urges the President to sign the bill into law.
The conference agreement passed the House on Tuesday by an overwhelming 412-4 vote. Today’s Senate passage by a strong vote of 91-7 underscores the strong bi-partisan effort to enact the critical water resources bill.
The bill contained four key elements of the Capital Development Plan that were included in the House WAVE 4 (H.R. 1149) and Senate RIVER Act (S. 407) bills, strongly supported by WCI:
• Olmsted Federalization: permanent cost-sharing for the remaining cost of the Olmsted project will be 85% General Fund, 15% Inland Waterways Trust Fund, freeing up approximately $105 million per year for funding other Trust Fund priority projects with Olmsted funded at $150 million per year.
• Definition of Major Rehabilitation Project Eligible for Inland Waterways Trust Fund: increased from current law level of $14 million to $20 million and adjusted annually for inflation.
• Prioritization of Projects: based upon risk of failure and economic benefit to the Nation.
• Project Delivery Process Reforms: based upon CDP-recommended reforms to achieve on-time and on-budget performance.
The bill also increases annual target appropriations levels for spending of funds from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), with full use of HMTF funds by 2025.
“The nation’s towboat operators, shippers, and labor, port, conservation and agriculture stakeholder members of WCI applauded today’s passage of WRRDA. This bill – and, we hope, law – will create American jobs, increase U.S. exports, keep our nation competitive in world markets, and enhance the reliability of the nation’s waterways transportation mode and critical supply chain link,” said Matt Woodruff, WCI Chairman. “Today, Congress got it done and voted to keep America moving!”
He continued, “WCI offers profound thanks to the strong, bi-partisan leadership of Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer and Ranking Member David Vitter; House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and Vice Chairman Congressman Jimmy Duncan; and Ranking Member Nick Rahall. We are also grateful for the work of House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs and Ranking Member Tim Bishop, along with RIVER Act sponsors Senators Bob Casey, Mary Landrieu, Lamar Alexander, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Harkin, and Al Franken, and WAVE 4 co-sponsors Congressman Ed Whitfield and Congressman Dan Lipinski, along with 31 co-sponsors.”
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