- The Water Resources Development Act passed by a vote of 95 to 3 in the Senate on Thursday.
- The bill identifies $9 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to put toward flood control and environmental restoration projects, and updates the cost-sharing formula for harbor deepening dredging projects.
- The legislation now needs to be voted on by the House of Representatives.
House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster has said he wants to get this reauthorization bill before his committee this week, though it may find itself significantly edited because the Senate version includes funding to help the aging drinking water systems in Flint, MI.
If this legislation becomes law, the federal government will aid the states the problems go beyond local capacities to protect the citizens. This bipartisan bill would add flood control measures, which would help states and localities work on flood control projects like feasibility studies, dredging and levees.
The torrential rains and flooding that devastated Baton Rouge last month were disruptive to shipping, and more of the same weather is likely to come in other places in the country. More than a dozen flood events that have affected parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri since March 2015, and Atlantic hurricane season continues until November 30.
This new legislation would reauthorize the bill every two years.The last iteration, which included cost controls and delivery reforms, was passed in 2014, after being on the shelf for seven years. Until 2000, Corps of Engineers programs were authorized every two years.
The current bill would speed completion of existing projects to deepen harbors, allowing for larger numbers of heavier ships. It also would extend funding for ports with a significant business for energy-related exports and imports.