Edward Wytkind issues this statement on S.2848, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016:
“Once again, Senators Boxer and Inhofe have proven that bipartisanship in Washington is not dead. TTD applauds their leadership on WRDA, which will authorize new Army Corps projects, keep American ports and harbors competitive, create good jobs and provide emergency aid for the community of Flint, Michigan, which is suffering from a drinking water crisis.
“For our nation’s seaports and the men and women who depend on them for good jobs, this legislation could not come at a better time. Megaships will soon become the norm in our maritime shipping sector leaving many U.S. ports at a competitive disadvantage due to chronic delays in much needed channel deepening projects. These delays are harming our economy, threatening port jobs and undermining America’s ability to accommodate export growth.
“Specifically, WRDA helps accelerate spending out of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) on port improvement and modernization projects which will make our shipping industry more competitive in an increasingly cutthroat global market. We believe this represents a step forward in our long-standing campaign to ensure that all Trust Fund money is spent on ports and harbors. For that reason, we hope that when the Senate and House get to a Conference, lawmakers will ensure that all HMTF money is delivered to ports as intended by Congress, and not left unspent or redirected to other congressional priorities.
“This bill also takes a common sense approach to growing domestic manufacturing. WRDA requires American-made iron and steel to be used in water infrastructure projects that are supported by the Drinking Water State Resolving Fund (DWSRF). We have always believed that public infrastructure investments should be used to maximize U.S. manufacturing job creation.
“We are incredibly pleased this bill will provide desperately needed assistance for the people of Flint, Michigan. We continue to believe that the resources being allocated to help fix Flint’s lead-poisoned water system should be treated as emergency spending as we’ve seen in the wake of many national emergencies. No offsets are needed when Americans are suffering.
“We applaud the Senate for putting the needs of the American people above party politics and urge the Senate and House to report a final bill this year.”