House passage of WRDA seen as ‘Prelude to Authorization’
After a successful floor vote in the US House of Representatives on July 14 to approve passage of a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) authorization bill, American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) President/CEO Kurt Nagle applauded committee and subcommittee leaders for championing the legislation, noting that this is a prelude to conference and final passage of one of the most critically-needed authorization bills of this session.
“America’s ports depend upon a regular, biennial cycle of new project authorizations to improve federal navigation channels to accommodate calls from a modern world fleet of deep-draft ships,” remarked Nagle. “This bill is critical to maintaining America’s position as a dominate world trading partner and ports as engines of the nation’s economic growth.”
Nagle said that AAPA and its US member ports, “are very appreciative” of the support provided by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Don Young (R-AK) and Ranking Member James Oberstar (D-MN), along with Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chair John Duncan (R-TN) and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX).
The last WRDA bill was signed into law in 2000. In the intervening half-decade, as demand for critical water resources projects has accumulated, so have the costs to implement them, making it more difficult to secure passage of a new WRDA.
Nagle noted that the most important thing HR 2864 does, in addition to needed project authorizations, is set the stage for timely biannual authorization bills in the future. He said that approving a WRDA bill every two years ensures the competitiveness of America’s exports while permitting the country’s access to low-cost imports, which helps control inflation.