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T&I Committee Takes on Water Resources Development Act Measure

Finding remarkable bipartisan support in an otherwise contentious chamber, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee has unveiled its version of the Water Resources Development Act and has added the word “Reform” so that the new title for HR 3080 is “Water Resources Reform and Development (WRRDA) Act.  Unlike the Senate version of the bill, the House proposal does not contain any WIFIA-like (Water Infrastructure Financing Innovations Act) provisions.  Although bill text is not yet publicly available, ASDWA has learned the following:

  • Dealing principally with projects managed by the Corps of Engineers, the measure limits Corps feasibility studies to 3 years and $3 million per study.
  • The Corps will have permanent authority to accept funds from non-Federal public interests to expedite permit processing.
  • The Secretary of the Army will have the lead role in facilitating environmental reviews for Corps projects but non-Federal sponsors may assume greater responsibilities in protecting public health, safety, and the environment.
  • Non-Federal interests may contribute funds toward construction of authorized water resource projects.
  • A public-private partnership pilot effort is authorized to (1) identify cost saving project delivery alternatives that reduce the backlog of authorized Corps projects, and (2) evaluate the technical, financial, and organizational benefits of allowing a non-Federal interest to carry out and manage the design or construction (or both) of one or more such projects.

The bill also considers funding offsets by moving toward deauthorization of $12 billion in backlogged projects to balance the $10 billion estimate for 23 new projects.