On April 20, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, held a roundtable policy discussion, “America’s Water Resources Infrastructure: Concepts for the Next Water Resources Development Act, Part II.” The event, held in Coos Bay, Oregon, covered challenges states and communities face in rebuilding and finding possible solutions to address America’s water infrastructure needs. Stakeholders emphasized the importance of maintaining U.S. waterways and touted the full use of Harbor Maintenance Tax revenues as a funding source.
The roundtable was part of the subcommittee’s work to develop the next Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) to improve the country’s ports, locks and dams, inland waterways, and other water resources infrastructure. The subcommittee kicked off WRDA development with a roundtable in Miami in October, 2017 and has since held several congressional hearings on the issue. Congress has returned to regular order in considering this vital infrastructure legislation every two years after passing WRDA laws in 2014 and 2016.
U.S. Representatives in attendance at the roundtable included Garret Graves (R-LA), Water Resources and Environment subcommittee chairman, Peter DeFazio (D-OR) Transportation and Infrastructure Committee ranking member, and Jared Huffman (D-CA) Water Resources and Environment subcommittee member. Other attendees included: John Burns, CEO Port of Coos Bay, Gary Nelson, executive director Port of Grays Harbors; Tom Calvanese, president, Port Commission, Port of Port Orford; Rick Goche, chairman Oregon Albacore Commission; and Kristin Meira, executive director, Pacific Northwest Waterways Association.