House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Pass WRRDA 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Congressman Bob Gibbs released the following statement after the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously approved bipartisan water resources reform legislation H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 on Thursday, September 19.
“Today the Water Resources Reform and Development Act was unanimously approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. WRRDA addresses Congress’s responsibility to authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out its mission to develop and maintain our nation’s vital port and maritime infrastructure needs. This bipartisan legislation cuts the bureaucracy and red tape, streamlines the infrastructure process and strengthens our maritime transportation networks to promote our country’s global competitiveness and helps to spur economic growth.
“After countless meetings with stakeholders throughout this process I believe that Chairman Shuster and I were able to create a bill that streamlines the process and expedites the time it takes to complete projects. Our country’s trade volume is expected to double within the next decade and double again in 2030. If our infrastructure is unable to safely and effectively transport these goods we will lose our ground as a major global competitor.
“This WRRDA bill also addresses changes to the way that the Army Corp of Engineers conducts its business in terms of infrastructure projects. When the Corp takes on a project it typically takes 10 to 15 years to complete these studies, when in reality it should take only up to three years. The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining our ports and waterways infrastructure but when it comes time to make improvements many sit years without an evaluation for years.
“WRRDA is one of the most policy and reform driven measures that we have seen in the last two decades. This bill contains no earmarks and makes major reforms to increase transparency and allowing for Congressional oversight in reviewing future water resource development projects.”
Highlights of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013
Reforms Bureaucracy, Accelerates Project Delivery, and Streamlines Environmental Reviews
• Sets hard deadlines on the time and cost of studies
• Consolidates or eliminates duplicative or unnecessary studies and requires concurrent reviews
• Streamlines environmental reviews
• Deauthorizes $12 billion of old, inactive projects that were authorized prior to WRDA 2007
• Fully offsets new authorizations with deauthorizations
• Sunsets new authorizations to prevent future project backlogs
• Reduces the inventory of properties that are not needed for the missions of the Corps
Strengthens Oversight, Transparency, and Accountability
• NO earmarks
• Establishes a new, transparent process for future bills to review and prioritize water resources development activities with strong Congressional oversight
Increases Flexibility for Non-Federal Interests
• Maximizes the ability of non-federal interests to contribute their own funds to move authorized studies and projects forward
• Expands the ability of non-federal interests to contribute funds to expedite the evaluation and processing of permits
• Establishes a Water Infrastructure Public Private Partnership Program
Improves Competitiveness, Creates Jobs, and Strengthens Water Resources Infrastructure
• Authorizes needed investments in America’s ports
• Supports underserved, emerging ports
• Reforms and preserves the Inland Waterways Trust Fund
• Authorizes priority water resources infrastructure improvements recommended by the Chief of the Army Corps of Engineers to improve navigation and commerce and address flood risk management, hurricane and storm damage risk reduction, and environmental restoration needs
Click here for more information about WRRDA, including bill and amendment text, as well as a document describing the importance of WRRDA and how it will improve American infrastructure and competitiveness.
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