WRRDA Passes House Today By Vote Of 417 To 3

Bills Next Heads To Conference With Senate

23 October 2013

Today the House of Representatives passed, by a strong bipartisan vote of 417 to 3, the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA), H.R. 3080.

Highlights of the bill are noted below:


Thanks to the bipartisan efforts of Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL), the co-sponsors of H.R. 1149, Waterways Are Vital for the Economy, Energy, Efficiency and the Environment (WAVE 4), the inland waterways of the United States will be modernized. Included in H.R. 3080 are provisions which reform the project delivery processes of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; create a prioritization of authorized improvements base upon risk of failure and economic return to the Nation; and, provides needed adjustments to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund to allow funds to flow to construct authorized projects by changing the cost-share formula for the Olmsted project.


No amendments to change the cost-share provision from 75% Federal funds/25% Inland Waterways Trust Fund funds for the completion of the Olmsted Locks and Dam project were offered. Special thanks to WCI members, stakeholders and coalition partners whose efforts helped to retain this important provision.


The WRRDA bill authorizes about $8 billion in spending for 23 projects, along with $2 billion in “modifications,” as noted by House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster.

The bill deauthorizes around $12 billion in projects authorized before 2007 in WRDA bills, but doesn’t specify which ones are on the list.


In terms of new authorizations, the largest navigation project is the dredging of the Sabine-Neches Waterway in Texas and Louisiana. Dredging for Savannah Harbor in Georgia, and port projects in Freeport, Texas, and Jacksonville and Cape Canaveral, Florida are also in the bill.

Portions of monies in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund must be spent on maintenance and dredging projects—65% of the FY ’13 revenue will be spent in FY ’14 to maintain channel widths and depths; 80% of the previous year’s revenue will be allocated by FY 2020.

Environmental Projects

Environmental reviews will be streamlined to a three-year limit and $3 million cap for Army Corps’ feasibility studies.
Nine environmental restoration projects are now authorized, along with other environmental projects, including over $2 billion for environmental restoration, hurricane and storm damage risk reduction in Mississippi and Louisiana.

In a WCI press release issued tonight on passage of the WRRDA bill, WCI President/CEO Mike Toohey said, “The nation’s towboat operators, shippers, labor, port, conservation and agriculture group members that rely on an efficient, modern, viable waterways system are deeply appreciative for the passage of WRRDA today. Bipartisan leadership demonstrated by Congressmen Shuster, Rahall, Gibbs and Bishop resulted in passage of the bill, but more importantly, in strengthening our nation’s vital waterways transportation system. This bill will also create American jobs, increase exports, and keep our nation competitive in world markets…After a six-year delay since the last water resources reauthorization, WCI and its members await conference between the House and Senate for a strong final bill that should be signed in law by the President,” he continued.

The House WRRDA bill will next head to conference with the WCI-supported Senate WRDA bill, S. 601. WCI will continue to apprise members of that process and developments.