A bipartisan bill signed by President Obama on December 16 will provide critical funds for water-resource infrastructure projects at emerging harbors, channels, locks and dams. The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN), which encompasses the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) legislation of 2016, authorizes the needed investment in the maritime and waterways transportation system and provides flood protection for communities.
The bill bolsters waterway-access projects, along with navigation and fishery improvements. With that, it provides maintenance funds for harbors of refuge. It also creates a pilot program to look at beneficial uses of dredge material in hopes of reducing costs, and funds the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for Everglades restoration, among other projects.
The House Transportation Committee states that the purposes of WIIN/WRDA are to require more timely approvals, accelerate the permit process on non-federal modifications to USACE projects, and boost local participation in construction and maintenance of water infrastructure. “These infrastructure improvements have been proposed at the local level in cooperation and consultation with the Corps, and have national economic and environmental benefits,” the statement says.
This bill had the support of BoatUS, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Ducks Unlimited, the US Chamber of Commerce, Marine Retailers Association of America, American Sportfishing Association, Center for Coastal Conservation, and American Waterways Operators.
For more information about the bill, visit http://transportation.house.gov/wrda-2016/.
Photo credited to NYS Canal Corporation