House Committee Approves USACE Projects for Alaska

Alaska Congressman Don Young announced last week that the H.R. 5303 bill was passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on May 25th 2016.

The H.R. 5303 – the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016 – bipartisan legislation is aimed to promote economic competitiveness and strengthen the nation’s water transportation and infrastructure needs.

To optimize the needs of local communities and streamline development of critical infrastructure, we worked in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop a bill within the boundaries set by the earmark moratorium,” said Congressman Don Young.

The bill, unanimously passed the Committee, authorizes harbor projects for Little Diomede and the City of Craig.

The following reforms and provisions of Alaskan importance were supported by Congressman Young in the 2016 WRDA:

  • LITTLE DIOMEDE, AK: The legislation authorizes the construction of a harbor in Little Diomede, AK.
  • CRAIG, AK: The legislation authorizes the construction of a harbor in Craig, AK.
  • CITY OF VALDEZ: The legislation includes a bill sponsored by Congressman Young, H.R. 5087, which removes a navigational servitude on waterfront land in Valdez that currently impedes economic development of the property. The bill removes the Federal Government’s taint on title in order to allow investment prospects for lands that were created due to dredging disposal from the construction of the harbor.
  • SMALL REMOTE AND SUBSISTENCE HARBORS: The legislation makes reforms to the current system USACE uses to evaluate small, remote, and subsistence port and harbor projects, by recognizing the regional benefits for justification of the project. Increasing capabilities at a hub community will dramatically lower the costs of goods throughout the region, in many circumstances.
  • EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES: Allows Alaska Native Corporations to develop water infrastructure projects as non-federal sponsors.
  • ARCTIC PORTS: Congressman Young successfully included a two-part amendment to H.R. 5303 to help with a justification for an Arctic port: one change recognizes the value of a potential Arctic Port to the surrounding communities, and another to enables the Corps to consider the national security benefits of an Arctic port.