This week, amid strong economic momentum, we will be moving forward with another piece of our agenda to bolster our nation’s infrastructure—specifically, water infrastructure.
The bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct projects improving water infrastructure: the ports, dams, and waterways that help facilitate commerce throughout our country and with the world.
This policy is yet another step to cut through barriers to economic growth, by enabling federal investments in locally proposed projects that will make our water infrastructure operate more efficiently and productively. If passed, WRDA will add to the progress we’ve already made this year when it comes to rebuilding America’s infrastructure. Congress sent the president a government funding bill that included $21.2 billion in new funding for infrastructure improvements. The administration announced a series of permitting reforms based on tools Congress provided in the most recent highway bill. And the House has passed a critical FAA reauthorization bill to upgrade airports and air travel.
This bill will help our industries maintain their competitive edge. To compete globally, a country needs efficient, high-quality ports. Ours, which process nearly $4 billion in exports and imports each day, can now get the updates they need. It will help maintain our network of inland waterways, which weaves through every state in the country. These waterways support $230 billion worth of cargo annually, connecting manufacturers and builders with essential commodities that support their trades and American jobs. And the bill includes reforms to prevent project delays.
By passing bills in 2014, 2016, and now with this bill, Congress has returned WRDA to a two-year cycle to ensure regulatory hurdles aren’t preventing infrastructure from being kept up to date.
All of this goes toward building on the economic gains we’ve already made during this Congress, and making changes that people will see in their everyday lives.