WRRDA Update

National Waterways Conference Release
16 May 2014
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released the long-awaited conference report on The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 yesterday afternoon.  

The 532-page report, along with a statement of the highlights and a section-by-section review, can be found on the Committee’s website at http://transportation.house.gov/wrrda/   

At yesterday’s stakeholder briefing by the staff from both committees, it was announced that the House will take up the measure on Tuesday morning under a suspension of the rules.  Senate action is expected within a day or two following House action.  Both committees expect to win easy passage, but are nonetheless seeking letters of support.   Please send any letters by noon on Monday to Beth Spivey at beth.spivey@mail.house.gov and Ted Illston at ted_illton@epw.senate.gov.  In addition, please urge your Congressional delegations to support WRRDA.

We continue to read through the report and will provide further analysis, but a few highlights:

•            Authorizes full expenditure from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund by 2025, including expanded uses at donor ports. 
•            Provides for 10% of HMTF revenues to emerging ports and another 5% for underserved ports.  Considers all Great Lakes ports and harbors as a single navigation system for funding purposes.
•            Adjusts the Olmsted cost share to 85%-15%, freeing up Inland Waterways Trust Fund revenues for other projects, as well as project delivery reforms as called for in the Capitol Development Plan.
•            Calls for a report on authorized and operating purposes of Corps of Engineers reservoirs in arid regions to determine the effects on water supply during a drought, as well as a report to update operations at all reservoirs.
•            Establishes a comprehensive levee safety program, which at first glance causes some concern.
•            Makes section 214 permanent.
•            Authorizes the naming of the lock and dam at mile 357.5 on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in honor of Don Waldon, a long-time NWC member and true champion of the nation’s inland waterways.           

Further review and analysis will be provided after we have time to review the entire report. 

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