Rep. Tom Reed and the House of Representatives voted Wednesday to reauthorize the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). WRRDA authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to facilitate waterway infrastructure improvements and environmental restoration. Priorities in the bill include strengthening water transportation networks, streamlining the environmental review process, and saving taxpayer dollars.
"Upstate New York is blessed with vital waterways that the federal government has a responsibility to strengthen and support," Congressman Reed said. "Keeping our harbors, lakes, ports, locks and other water infrastructure up-to-date will support competitiveness and economic growth in our 21st century economy and will better position the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes to "make it here, sell it there.'"
Specific to New York's 23rd District, the benefits are many. "From dredging lakes and harbors and making repairs from Superstorm Sandy to combating invasive species, flood protection and environmental restoration, our district has strong incentives to support our waterway transportation system," Reed continued. "Considering the fact that nearly one-third of our country's GDP comes from international trade and 99 percent of that trade passes through our country's ports, we all share a stake in improving our waterways."
The bill establishes the Great Lakes as a single navigation system, strengthening the area's ability to compete for funding. WRRDA also saves billions in taxpayer dollars by deauthorizing $12 billion of old, inactive projects and setting hard deadlines on the time and federal cost of studies.
"The bill's priorities are clear: cut down on bureaucratic red tape, streamline project completion, and save taxpayers money," Reed added. "By embracing these priorities, the House is taking a huge step to support job creation in a competitive global marketplace. I am pleased this jobs bill came to the floor and am encouraged by the strong bipartisan support it received."
The program is intended to be reauthorized every two years but no bill had been signed into law since 2007.