The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) welcomed the U.S. Senate’s approval last evening of the long-pending Water Resources Development Act (S. 728), which addresses a six-year backlog of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers programs, including navigation projects, policies and procedures necessary to keep pace with today’s burgeoning trade. The bill also includes a number of important provisions for the Corps, such as an amendment proposed by Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) to strike decommissioning language for the Corps dredge McFarland and lift restrictions on two other Corps dredges (the Yaquina and Essayons).
“AAPA and our member ports are very pleased that this critical piece of legislation is finally headed to conference, thanks in large measure to Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) for bringing it to the Senate floor, and to the effective leadership of Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Kit Bond (R-MO) Max Baucus (D-MT) and Jim Jeffords (I-VT),” said Kurt Nagle, AAPA’s president and CEO. Sen. Inhofe chairs the Environment and Public Works committee; Sen. Jeffords is the committee’s minority ranking member; Sen. Bond is the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee chairman and the WRDA bill’s manager; and Sen. Baucus is the subcommittee minority ranking member.
The last WRDA bill was signed into law in 2000. In the intervening years, demand for critical water resources projects
has accumulated, as have the costs to implement them. Numerous projects and provisions in the WRDA 2006 omnibus bill will help address port waterside infrastructure needs. Included are projects for navigation channel deepening
, dredged material
disposal and storage facilities, and policy provisions to improve the Corps of Engineers project implementation process.