During a White House ceremony on June 10, President Obama signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) in front of members of Congress as well as representatives from locations that will benefit from the measure.
The president noted, “World class infrastructure is one of the reasons American became a superpower in the first place.”
The new law will fund approximately 36 projects across the country that includes dredging, flood control, hurricane recovery and environmental restoration. The bill changes the way major U.S. shipping projects can be funded by allowing ports to pay the cost to deepen harbors, then seek reimbursement from the federal government once that project is authorized by lawmakers. It also frees some of the dollars in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for its intended use. WRRDA is the first major waterways bill passed by Congress in seven years.
The compromise measure was approved with large bipartisan margins by the House and Senate during the week of May 19. WRRDA provides funds for a variety of waterway construction and repair projects, including dredging operations for several East Coast ports to prepare for the larger vessels expected when the Panama Canal expansion opens sometime next year. The measure also provides dollars for badly needed dredging and other efforts along the Great Lakes.
“WRRDA and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund provide good-paying jobs with benefits, which will cultivate a robust future economy and maritime industry,” stated MTD Vice President Scott Winter after the bill was passed by Congress.