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December 10, 2020

House Passes Watered-Down WRDA Bill; Senate Action Expected Next Week

The House of Representatives passed a new Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) on Tuesday, authorizing $9.9 billion in federal funds for 46 Army Corps of Engineers flood control, environmental restoration, coastal protection, and other projects.

The bill does not authorize funding for drinking water or wastewater infrastructure. ACEC will work with Congressional leaders to fund these programs in the anticipated stimulus bill early in 2021.

The bill includes several policy changes:

  • Changes cost shares for inland waterway projects to 65 percent from the general fund and 35 percent from the Inland Waterway Trust Fund rather than the current 50-50 split, stretching the trust fund dollars to assist more projects.
  • Authorizes an additional $2 billion per year for harbor dredging projects from the trust fund’s balance.  
  • Requires the Secretary of the Army to issue final Corps procedures for its “Principles, Requirements and Guidelines” for water projects that ensure they would prioritize sustainable development and restoration of natural ecological systems.
  • Clarifies that projects’ natural features would have the same federal cost-share as those with structural features.

The legislation also deauthorizes up to $10 billion in other “outdated and antiquated” Corps projects, making the bill’s net cumulative cost negligible.

The legislation is a compromise measure worked out in negotiations between House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY). 

The Senate is expected to take up the bill next week, but DeFazio said passage isn’t assured. He said some Senators don’t like that the bill authorizes the additional spending from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.

Click here to view a summary of the bill.

All comments to blog posts will be moderated by ACEC staff.

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December 10, 2020



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