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Water Resources Development Act Revision

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy the re-authorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) becomes an important topic, Environment and Public Works (EPW) chair, Barbara Boxer (D-California), said "We need to ensure communities have critical flood protection, which is one of the primary parts of this bill."

According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) a hearing was held last week between the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on a draft of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill.

The WRDA, established in 1986 are cost sharing formulas for the construction of harbors, inland waterway transportation, and flood control projects. Since the original act was executed hundreds of projects, studies, and plans have been created across the nation. The WRDA also has authority to de-authorize projects.

Although the WRDA intended to be revised every two years, it was last authorized in 2007 following the congressional override of President Bush's veto.

The most recent draft is a product of an ongoing conversation between majority and minority staff, and represents an indication of the Chair's vision for reauthorizing legislation required for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers navigation mission, as well as other critical federal water resource issues concerning navigation, recreation, and environmentally sensitive federal lands.

AASHTO's Standing Committee on Water Transportation (SCOWT), led by Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary and former Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton met in Pittsburgh during the AASHTO Annual Meeting to discuss the draft WRDA legislation and got a first-hand look at the state of locks and dams in Pittsburgh area.

SCOWT has since called on Congress to spend all of the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) revenues on maintaining harbors, as the tax is legislated to do. MAP-21 included a ''Sense of the Congress'' provision in regard to HMT reform that SCOWT hopes will now be included in WRDA.

For more information about AASHTO please visit To learn more about the WRDA please click here.

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December 10, 2019, 7:53 pm PDT

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