By Dean Franks, vice president of congressional affairs, ARTBA
The House of Representatives voted 399-25 Sept. 28 to authorize over $8 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out water construction projects in 19 states. H.R. 5303, the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, would authorize 30 projects, including locks and dams, inland waterways, ports and environmental rehabilitation.
Representatives Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) championed a Sept. 13 letter urging House GOP leaders to take up H.R. 5303 before Sept. 30. ARTBA worked with other stakeholder groups over the past several months to build support for the Sanford-Frankel letter, which 143 bipartisan House members signed. See if your representative signed the letter.
The House bill follows the Sept. 15 passage of companion legislation in the Senate. Leaders of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee are expected to work to reconcile the measures while Congress breaks for the November elections to enable Congress to approve a final water resources bill during a post-election “lame duck” session.
ARTBA will continue to educate members of Congress about the importance of our nation’s marine transportation system to help ensure enactment of water infrastructure legislation in 2016.