The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, of which the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA 2016) is included, passed on December 9, 2016. With this action, water resources legislation is returned to a regular, biennial process, which WCI applauds.
WIIN/WRDA 2016 did not contain a Public-Private Partnership (P3) provision that could have allowed for the collection of tolls or lockage fees on waterways. WCI stakeholder resistance successfully helped to defeat this onerous proposal. WIIN/WRDA does include approved Chief's Reports for Calcasieu Lock modifications in Louisiana, deepening of Brazos Island Harbor in Texas (Brownsville Ship Channel), and the Upper Ohio Study that allows the Emsworth, Dashields and Montgomery (EDM) locks project near Pittsburgh to move forward.
Provisions of the last water resources bill -- WRRDA 2014 – were based upon recommendations from the Capital Development Plan (CDP) to address inland waterways system infrastructure reliability. It contained provisions to prioritize navigation projects across the waterways system; improve Corps’ project management and processes to better deliver projects on-time and on-budget to realize $8 billion in job creation; reform navigation project cost allocations for the Olmsted project, to 85% General Fund, 15% Inland Waterways Trust Fund; define Major Rehabilitation project eligibility for Inland Waterways Trust Funds, increasing the current law level of $14 million to $20 million and adjusting it annually for inflation; and increase spending of Harbor Maintenance Trust Funds according to a schedule of increased funding.
Implementation guidance for WRDDA 2014 is currently ongoing.
WIIN/WRDA 2016: Returning water resources bills to every two years, Congress ended with a WIIN in WRDA 2016.
Letters: WRDA 2016
- House Letter Signed by 75 Organizations Opposing P3 Tolling Proposal (April 6, 2016)
- Senate Letter Signed by 75 Organizations Opposing P3 Tolling Proposal (April 6, 2016)
- WRDA 2016 “Dear Colleague” Letter Urging Change to Major Rehab Threshold (February 26, 2016)
- WCI Infrastructure Week One-Pager (May 16-23, 2016)
On June 10, 2014 President Obama signed the 2014 Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) into law. A month before, in May 2014, the House and Senate passed a final WRRDA bill with enormous bi-partisan support to authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to perform various water-related, water resources projects. WRRDA’s policies are critical to our nation’s inland waterways, which provide and sustain more than half-a-million American jobs, support exports, and protect the environment. They relieve traffic congestion, are the safest, most energy-efficient mode of surface transportation, and are vital to our agriculture, manufacturing and energy sectors.
WRRDA 2014 Implementation
Letters of Support: FY ’16 Funding, WRRDA, NESP, Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and barge user fee increase
- Inland Waterways Users Board Recommendations to Congress about Commercial Navigation in President’s FY ’16 budget request (March 30, 2015)
- House “Dear Colleague” Letter in support of higher funding levels for the USACE in FY ’16 signed by 18 House Members (March 18, 2015)
- House “Dear Colleague” Letter in support of spending the surplus in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund per WRRDA 2014 signed by 86 House Members (March 17, 2015)
- Letter in support of S. 2955, introduced by Senators Casey, Alexander, Harkin, Klobuchar and Franken, to increase the user fee that barge and towing companies pay into the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF), signed by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association and other state agriculture organizations (December 2, 2014)
- “Dear Colleague” Letter sent to President Obama urging inclusion of funding for the Navigation Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) in the President’s FY ‘16 budget (November 17, 2014)
- Letter from Senators Feinstein and Alexander supporting increase in barge diesel user fee (June 26, 2014)
- Letter from five Upper Midwest Governors to the President urging funding of NESP in FY 2016 (August 20, 2016)
- Letter to Senate Finance Committee signed by 82 stakeholders to increase barge user fee (April 28, 2014)
- Wisconsin State Assembly (state and federal affairs subcommittee members) (February 21, 2014)
- Report by the American Society of Civil Engineers
Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Airports, Inland Waterways, and Marine Ports Infrastructure
- The Capital Development Plan
Capital Development Plan
- A problem 'too big to ignore' -- how years of congressional wrangling led to a water compromiseDec 13, 2016 - Los Angeles Times
- Great Lakes spending included in federal water billDec 13, 2016 - Duluth News-Tribune
- Congress approves at least $120M for Flint water fixDec 12, 2016 - Detroit Free Press
- Trump's proposed budget features steep cuts to fund military, homeland security and aid veterans Mar 18, 2017 - Chattanooga Times/Free Press
- BRIEF: Early Mississippi River shipping season begins with first vessel in metro Mar 11, 2017 - Pioneer Press
- Spring is almost here: Mississippi opens for navigation, area lakes ice-out Mar 10, 2017 - Star Tribune