Congress advances water infrastructure legislation

The Senate has passed America’s Water Infrastructure Act, a bill generally passed every two years and often referred to as the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA). The legislation deals with funding a range of water infrastructure improvements.

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), and committee ranking member Tom Carper (D-Del.), Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee ranking member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) championed the passage of S. 3021, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.

The bipartisan legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 99 to 1. The bill will now go to the president to be signed into law. America’s Water Infrastructure Act is the most sweeping infrastructure package to be considered this Congress. It grows the economy, keeps communities safe, cuts red tape and is fiscally responsible. The House of Representatives passed the legislation by voice vote. For more information on the legislation, click here.

“President Trump called on Congress to take action on the country’s water infrastructure and we have done that today,” said Barrasso. “America’s Water Infrastructure Act will cut Washington red tape, grow the nation’s economy, and help keep communities safe. It will create jobs, reduce the deficit, and give local stakeholders more control of projects. This bipartisan legislation will help communities in Wyoming by increasing water storage, fixing irrigation systems, addressing the maintenance needs of older dams, and by finding a permanent solution for flooding caused by ice jams. I am thankful to my fellow senators for supporting this important bill. I am pleased to send America’s Water Infrastructure Act to President Trump for his signature.”

“This bipartisan infrastructure bill delivers for families in every state across our country, and I’m proud that it’s on its way to be signed into law,” said Carper. “This legislation invests in the critical water infrastructure we don’t see every day, but that American families in every state rely on, such as drinking water systems, dams, reservoirs, levees, and ports. It supports and creates good-paying jobs here at home, incentivizes businesses to buy and use American products, and authorizes and expands programs for clean drinking water for the first time in more than two decades. And when it comes to local infrastructure projects, it ensures the voices of our country’s local governments are being heard by the federal government to ensure needs are being met and taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently. This is the first major infrastructure bill to clear this Congress, and it’s one that should be celebrated.”

“Today we’ve passed the third consecutive biennial water resources bill, which allows us to ensure America has modern, updated water resources and infrastructure to maintain our economic competitiveness,” said Inhofe. “By passing this bill, Congress is taking bipartisan action on infrastructure to support states and local communities across the country. I’m pleased this bill supports Oklahoma by giving state and local stakeholders greater say in which projects get funded. We also cut needless red tape in this bill by allowing for greater transparency into Corps permitting and real estate processes. I fought to secure provisions in this legislation that will promote economic development in Oklahoma by further advancing the MKARNS priorities, as well as provide certainty in water storage pricing for Bartlesville—saving taxpayers over $10 million. I also worked to include language that could extend the authorization for the Booster Pump Station in Midwest City and provide for the Altus-Lugart dike rehabilitation.”

“Water infrastructure should not be a partisan issue and I have been proud to work with my colleagues to develop legislation that will benefit our aging water resources and infrastructure,” said Cardin. “Congress has a responsibility to be a strong partner with states and localities to repair and maintain our nation’s waterways and infrastructure, and keep our drinking water safe. This bipartisan legislation is a major step toward fulfilling that responsibility.”

America’s Water Infrastructure Act will:

  • Authorize federal funding for water infrastructure projects, which leverages billions in water infrastructure spending;
  • Expand water storage capabilities;
  • Include billions of dollars in deauthorizations and reduce the deficit;
  • Assist local communities in complying with the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act by upgrading aging drinking water, wastewater and irrigation systems;
  • Reduce flooding risks for rural, western, and coastal communities;
  • Ensure that America maintains the competitiveness of our coastal and inland ports, and maintain the navigability of our inland waterways;
  • Create a new framework to allow for more Army Corps projects to be budgeted with increased local stakeholder input and expanded transparency;
  • Authorize or reauthorize important water infrastructure programs and projects; and
  • Address significant water infrastructure needs in tribal communities.

Read the text of America’s Water Infrastructure Act here and a section-by-section of the legislation here.

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