USA: Congresswoman Inks Conference Report on WRRDA Bill

Congresswoman Lois Frankel signed the bipartisan Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) conference report last week, after the House/Senate conference committee came to an agreement on major legislation authorizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to proceed on important water projects across the country.

Historically, Congress has passed this legislation every two years, but no bill has been signed into law since 2007.

As a member of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and the WRRDA Conference Committee, Frankel worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance important Florida projects that strengthen the economy and preserve the natural resources. “WRRDA is about jobs and protection of our water supply,” said Frankel.

Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale has astoundingly spent 18 years trying to secure approval from the Army Corps to deepen their harbor which would accommodate the larger post-Panamax vessels that will frequent the seas once the Panama Canal is widened in 2015. The Port appeared on track in 2012 to secure Army Corps approval until yet another delay prevented them from securing the Army Corp Chief’s report, a requirement for being included for authorization in the WRRDA bill.

Fearing that the Port Everglades would lose critical ground in a global infrastructure race, Rep. Frankel championed a provision that allows the Port to immediately progress towards expanding the harbor without waiting for future Congressional approval once an Army Corps Chief’s Report is obtained. With a Chief’s Report, the Port may proceed to the pre-construction engineering and design phase, and even construction, using local funds which they may seek reimbursement, or credit for, once Congress authorizes the project in a future water resources bill.

On completion, the dredging project will surge economic growth in South Florida, with an expected 7,000 new and 135,000 indirect jobs.

Press Release, May 12, 2014

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