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