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USA - WRDA Clears Another Hurdle in House of Representatives

Washington, D.C.—Trying to keep its track record intact, the House passed by voice vote the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, sending it on to the Senate for final congressional action.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, called the bill a “bipartisan, bicameral agreement,” and highlighted authorization in S. 1811 for all 46 reports—a record number—of the chief engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 27 new feasibility studies and expedited completion of more than 60 ongoing studies.

DeFazio also pointed to provisions to ensure full utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund by unlocking funds that have sat idle for decades.

Combined with other funds, he said, WRDA 2020 likely could provide up to $4 billion annually for maintenance dredging that the Corps noted should address the complete backlog within five years.

The National Waterways Conference cited the bill’s changes in the cost share of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund from a 50-50 split to 65-35 with the largest share coming from the U.S. Treasury general fund.

Supporters of the popular legislation remain committed to maintaining the record that began in 2014 to pass a WRDA bill on a biennial basis.

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