Bush Vetoes WRDA Bill; Ports Urge Congress to Override
As expected, President Bush today vetoed the 2007 Water Resources Development Act (HR 1495), which would authorize critically needed legislation to advance water resources projects throughout the United States, including those that would improve navigation, repair hurricane damage, restore wetlands and prevent flooding. In response, America's seaports and related port industries-which are challenged with handling unprecedented cargo volume growth and demands from increasingly larger ships-will mount a "full-court press" on Congress to lock-in the first veto override of the Bush Administration.
"This bill is as much about ensuring jobs and income growth for the nation as it is about water projects," said Kurt Nagle, American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) president and CEO. "America's seaports have been the backbone of trade growth and economic prosperity since our country was founded. The port industry has invested billions in new infrastructure to accommodate increasing trade volumes. Yet, there haven't been any new federal navigation improvement projects authorized in a Water Resources Development Act since 2000."
Mr. Nagle emphasized that by overriding the President's veto, Congress can proactively address the seven-year backlog of water infrastructure projects and policy changes "that are sorely needed to keep our marine highways and trade gateways open and functioning."
AAPA is urging its 86 member ports in the U.S. to act quickly and decisively to ensure members of Congress understand the importance of voting to override the President's WRDA bill veto. The bill received overwhelming support from both houses of Congress prior to its trip to the President's desk, receiving votes of 91-4 in the Senate and 394-25 in the House.