H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA)

ImageThe House/Senate conference committee has reached a compromise on H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which is likely to be enacted soon. The committee claims:

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 is one of the most policy and reform focused measures of its kind in the last two decades.  WRRDA streamlines the project delivery process, promotes fiscal responsibility, and strengthens our water transportation networks to promote competitiveness, prosperity, and economic growth.  WRRDA contains no earmarks and makes major reforms to increase transparency, accountability, and Congressional oversight in reviewing and prioritizing future water resources development activities.

Tom Reed writes:

“We’re making the process more open and transparent based on merit and benefits to taxpayers – not earmarks,” Reed said. “We’ve also streamlined the review process so that applicants aren’t held back by bureaucratic red tape and projects are completed in a timelier, efficient way. Caring for our water infrastructure network in a transparent way supports jobs, improves our global competitiveness and gives hardworking taxpayers a fair return on their investment.”

Tom claims that the bill makes underserved harbors, including Dunkirk Harbor, Cattaraugus Creek and Barcelona Harbor in a better position to take advantage of federal funding, and that by excluding earmarks, funding projects will be applied to and approved for based on merit and competitiveness.  Can both claims be true?

Rep. Candace Miller (R-MI) writes:

“I am extremely pleased to announce that our final bill includes provisions that will significantly benefit our Great Lakes, including my provision originally incorporated in the House bill that will, for the first time ever, designate all ports and harbors on the Great Lakes as a single, comprehensive navigation system.  This new designation will finally allow the Great Lakes to present a unified front when competing against coastal regions for federal funding and resources. The final bill also increases the funding provided by the federal Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for our harbors and maritime infrastructure.”

Can the bill benefit the Great Lakes as Rep. Miller claims and still prioritize projects properly?

The bill is said to reduce overall spending by cancelling obsolete projects while funding new projects.  Does this make sense?  If the need for investment in infrastructure exists as claimed, wouldn’t increased spending be in order? Can the bill streamline project approval with endangering the environment? One wonders.

© William Hungerford – May 2014

http://transportation.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=379806

http://reed.house.gov/press-release/tom-reed-sees-water-infrastructure-upgrades-coming-soon

http://candicemiller.house.gov/press-release/wrrda-include-miller%E2%80%99s-great-lakes-navigation-system

http://transportation.house.gov/uploadedfiles/wrrdabookletpostconflowres.pdf

 

 

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About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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8 Responses to H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA)

  1. BOB McGILL says:

    We will just have to wait and see what Martha thinks, seeing as how, in your mind, she is the only one that knows anything. And we all know that democrats never lie.

  2. whungerford says:

    The premise of this bill, that a fixed amount of money needs to be divided among competing interests, is wrong. Better that Congress would fund all worthwhile projects.

  3. whungerford says:

    Beach renourishment? WRRDA has something for everyone.
    U.S. Congressman Mike McIntyre (D-NC) announced that Congress will authorize an extension of the Carolina Beach renourishment project through the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014.
    Congressman McIntyre said: “With the new language included in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, we have successfully created a way to keep sand on the beach and continue to protect our homes, businesses, and communities from the devastating effects of storms. The town of Carolina Beach is a perfect example of a beach nourishment project that has proven its worth over and over again, sustaining our environment and driving our economy upward year after year.”
    http://www.dredgingtoday.com/2014/05/19/usa-great-news-for-carolina-beach-renourishment-project/

  4. Barbara Griffin says:

    This may be a good thing, but I for one, am suspicious of anything Tom Reed endorses. Will this open our harbors and waterways to increased transportation of oil, gas, and chemical waste? Will streamlining and cutting back on bureaucratic read tape reduce safety regulations? Will this allow the fossil fuel industry free reign over our waterways? Sadly, our corporate controlled government has done little to protect the environment. In fact, the GOP has proposed eliminating the EPA.

  5. whungerford says:

    Tom joined all but 4 of his colleagues in voting for the bill.
    http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll220.xml

  6. Deb Meeker says:

    Agree

  7. josephurban says:

    This bill sounds like a compromise. A way to distribute pork without calling it pork? Really. Who is going to decide “objectively” which projects are more “worthy” of funding? And I am always a little apprehensive about bills that claim to “streamline” processes. Could that mean there will be no or little oversight ? We shall see.

  8. Pingback: “Republicans in Congress have blocked every serious idea to strengthen the middle class.” | New NY 23rd

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