The Dredging Contractors of America (DCA) praised the Senate’s passage of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018/Water Resources Development Act (WRDA 2018), on October 10 by a 99 to 1 vote. The bill passed in the House by unanimous voice vote (435-0) in August.
Commenting on final passage of the bill, William P. Doyle, CEO and executive director of the Dredging Contractors of America said, “America needs this comprehensive water infrastructure legislation.” Doyle continued, “This legislation cuts bureaucratic red tape, it creates jobs, and keeps our coastal communities, ports, harbors, and inland waterway system safe. It will grow the nation’s economy and speed up important projects. We look forward to President Trump signing the legislation into law.”
WRDA 2018 authorizes at least $9 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works projects and Environmental Protection Agency drinking-water and sewer-overflow control programs. These authorizations still require annual appropriations before construction contracts for projects can move forward.
DCA said a central part of the measure is a new Water Resources Development Act title, which authorizes $3.7 billion in federal funds for twelve Corps dredging, flood protection and other projects. When non-federal funding shares are added, those projects’ combined is about $5.6 billion. This includes $2.2 billion for flood protection and ecosystem restoration along the Texas Gulf Coast.
In addition, the WRDA title includes enhanced funding for the deepening of Savannah Harbor in Georgia and replacement for the Chickamauga Lock on the Tennessee River; increases the number of pilot programs for the beneficial use of dredged material from 10 to 20; and creates a new framework to allow for more Corps projects to be budgeted with increased local stakeholder input and expanded transparency.