U.S. Senator David Vitter spoke on the Senate Floor yesterday urging his colleagues to take up and pass the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA).
In light of last month’s devastating flooding in South Louisiana, Vitter contends that passing major water infrastructure reforms is timely and crucial.
“After last month’s devastating flooding throughout South Louisiana, it is clear that America’s water infrastructure is in desperate need of an overhaul and upgrade,” said Vitter.
“We cannot continue rebuilding neighborhoods and cities time and again after disasters; we have to become more proactive in protecting life and property, more diligent in our oversight of the Corps to ensure projects are delivered on time, as well as creating the real paying jobs that help grow our economy with the projects contained in this bill.”
As Chairman of the EPW Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Vitter included the following provisions in WRDA 2016:
- Authorization of the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Hurricane Protection Project and the Southwest Coastal Louisiana Hurricane Protection Project – These projects will provide protection for residents outside the New Orleans Hurricane Protection System along the Interstate 10 corridor and throughout communities in Southwest Louisiana;
- Expedited construction of the Comite River Diversion and additional flood protection measures along the Amite River and Tributaries project in East Baton Rouge;
- Authorization for the Calcasieu Lock – This project will reconstruct an aging lock to ensures safe, reliable transportation along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway;
- Provisions that increase the beneficial use of dredged material – critically important for the restoration of the coast – including the placement of dredged material in a location other than the least cost alternative;
- Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund reforms to extend vital programs for those ports that move much of the nation’s energy commodities, modernize deepening cost-shares to maintain the nation’s competitive advantage in the global economy, and also provide for additional operation and maintenance needs for small, agricultural and commodity ports along the Mississippi River;
- Authority for ports to get limited reimbursement for maintenance they perform using their own specialized equipment on federal navigation channels;
- Provisions that allow local flood protection authorities to increase the level of protection after a disaster and rehabilitate existing levees to provide the authorized level of protection and meet the NFIP requirements;
- Provisions that allow locals to get credit for money they spend for operations and maintenance of multipurpose protection structures and work they’ve already completed on coastal restoration projects;
- Studies to look at improvements to the Mississippi River, flood protection and ecosystem restoration for St. Tammany Parish, bank stabilization and water supply on the Ouachita-Black River, and deepening of the Calcasieu River to 45-feet (Senate Resolution);
- Deauthorization and transfer of the Pearl River navigation project to the State of Louisiana.