Peter DeFazio, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, has applauded Committee passage of critical legislation that will strengthen coastal communities, and create and sustain needed jobs.
This legislation, the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA), authorizes funding for the Army Corps of Engineers navigation, flood control and environmental restoration projects, directly benefiting Oregon’s small ports.
“This bill is a huge victory for Oregon’s coastal communities. This legislation will create and sustain jobs on the coast, make conditions safer for Oregon’s fishing and recreation industries, and boost our state and nation’s economic competitiveness,” DeFazio said.
As a key negotiator on the bipartisan legislation, DeFazio successfully secured a provision that guarantees the nation’s small ports will permanently receive at least 10 percent of annual funding provided for dredging across the country.
This set-aside will help to address the critical needs of small ports in Southwest Oregon and will generate additional revenue over time as Congress provides more funding to the Corps.
Additional highlights of the legislation:
- The legislation includes a DeFazio provision that directs the federal government to fund a study of the conditions of federal breakwaters and jetties that protect the nation’s coastal ports. Like levees and dams before, the condition of the nation’s water-related infrastructure is deteriorating. This federal study will provide necessary information detailing the true state of our jetties so Congress can take future steps to address the backlog of critical projects;
- DeFazio secured a provision that increases federal transparency by requiring the Corps to make publicly available all data related to federal dredging contracts, including volumes, federal cost estimates, winning bid price and other submitted bid offers;
- The legislation included the authorization of federal funding for the Lower Willamette River Environmental Dredging and Ecosystem Restoration Project, which will restore ecosystem functions by reconnecting floodplain habitat to the river and improving fish and wildlife habitats.