Congress has now given its final approval to the sweeping Water Resources Development Act, legislation that authorizes the construction of some 46 pending Army Corps of Engineers projects nationally.
The bill allows for the appropriation of more than $10 billion in funding through the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Balance, and additionally authorizes nearly 30 project feasibility studies.
The authors of the legislation noted that it also essentially unlocks construction funds for any number of inland waterway construction projects.
Besides providing funding to port and harbor projects, the legislation also makes it possible to undertake ecosystem restoration and flood mitigation projects in both urban and rural communities.
In addition, the legislation allows access to some $500 million in funding from the Maintenance Trust Fund for fiscal year 2021 specifically designed to tackle a growing backlog of navigation maintenance work in the nation’s ports and harbors.
In commenting upon the passage of the legislation in the House, Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, said the bill will “build more resilient communities.”
DeFazio also noted that the legislation will help ensure that the Corps of Engineers “carries out projects in an economically and environmentally responsible manner, keeping equity in mind.”
The legislation was ultimately approved, and signed into law by President Trump, as part of the larger $900 coronavirus relief bill.
By Garry Boulard
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