House and Senate conferees will be meeting soon to iron out the difference in their individual Water Resources Reform and Development Acts after the House overwhelmingly passed its version of the bill by a 417-3 margin on October 23.
The MTD and its allies have been pushing such legislation for years since the last measure was passed during the previous decade.
The House bill is designed to cut federal red tape and bureaucracy, streamline the infrastructure delivery process, promote fiscal responsibility and strengthen the nation’s water transportation networks to promote competitiveness, prosperity and economic growth. While the MTD and others urged the legislators to clearly delineate all dollars collected by the Harbor Maintenance Tax to be used solely for use in the nation’s waterways (as originally intended), the bill makes some corrections on the use of the money but falls short of what had been sought. (Currently some of the funds are used to offset the budget deficit.)
The bipartisan legislation was introduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Committee Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) as well as Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chair Bob Gibbs (R-OH) and Ranking Member Tim Bishop (D-NY).
Shuster declared, “Fundamentally, this is about jobs. Not just the jobs in constructing these improvements to our infrastructure, but current and future jobs that will depend on a modern, efficient transportation system that will allow American businesses to compete and prosper in a global marketplace.”
Rahall added, “The bipartisan bill approved today stops the finger in the dike solutions to our water infrastructure challenges and instead invests in these corridors of commerce which create jobs and support increased economic opportunity.”