By Lauren Schapker, vice president of legislative affairs, ARTBA 

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee July 15 unanimously approved the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020. The two-year, bipartisan bill would authorize funding for dredging, navigation, and dam rehabilitation improvements on U.S. waterways.

The bill would authorize $8.6 billion to support 34 Army Corps of Engineers projects and allow the $10 billion in user fees that have accumulated in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to be allocated for dredging and other major port and harbor projects.   

The full House is expected to vote on the bill the week of July 27. 

While an authorization of these projects and programs is critical for infrastructure improvements to move forward, the annual appropriations process is ultimately where spending levels are decided. Recent appropriations have fallen short of authorized levels, though the gap is closing.

The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee May 6 unanimously approved its version of the marine transport legislation. Existing WRDA authorization expires Sept. 30.