Bipartisan water infrastructure bill passes through Committee with overwhelming support
Washington, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) announced the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA) passed with bipartisan support through the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW). Vitter successfully included a number of provisions that will improve flood control and coastal hurricane protection for Louisiana communities.
“Louisianians know quite well how important our ports and waterways are to Louisiana’s economy and job growth, and I’ve been working for years to ensure the safety of our waterways, while also promoting economic development and growth,” said Vitter. “This year’s WRDA builds on the necessary, commonsense reforms we made in 2014, and will do a great deal to move forward projects that will better protect Louisiana families and businesses ahead of future natural disasters.”
As Chairman of the EPW Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Vitter included the following provisions in WRDA 2016:
- Authorization of the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Hurricane Protection Project – This project will provide protection for residents outside the New Orleans Hurricane Protection System along the Interstate 10 corridor.
- Authorization for the Calcasieu Lock – This project will reconstruct an aging lock to ensures safe, reliable transportation along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
- Provisions that increase the beneficial use of dredged material – critically important for the restoration of our coast – including the placement of dredged material in a location other than the least cost alternative.
- Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund reforms to extend vital programs for those ports that move much of our nation’s energy commodities, modernize deepening cost-shares to maintain our nation’s competitive advantage in the global economy, and also provide for additional operation and maintenance needs for small, agricultural and commodity ports along the Mississippi River.
- Authority for ports to get limited reimbursement for maintenance they perform using their own specialized equipment on federal navigation channels.
- Provisions that allow local flood protection authorities to increase the level of protection after a disaster and rehabilitate existing levees to provide the authorized level of protection and meet the NFIP requirements.
- Provisions that allow locals to get credit for money they spend for operations and maintenance of multipurpose protection structures and work they’ve already completed on coastal restoration projects.
- Studies to look at improvements to the Mississippi River, flood protection and ecosystem restoration for St. Tammany Parish, bank stabilization and water supply on the Ouachita-Black River, and deepening of the Calcasieu River to 45-feet (Senate Resolution).
- Deauthorization and transfer of the Pearl River navigation project to the State of Louisiana.
As the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, Vitter successfully passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, which directly benefited Louisiana by including coastal restoration, authorization for Morganza to the Gulf, and an increase in Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund expenditures. Vitter was the lead Senate Republican who wrote the bill and negotiated the final legislation. Click here to read more.
Source: U.S. Sen. David Vitter