U.S. Senator David Vitter issued the following statement regarding yesterday’s vote in the U.S. Senate to move forward with the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA), which will improve flood control and coastal hurricane protection throughout Louisiana.
As the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Vitter helped author and advance WRDA 2016.
The Senate is expected to vote on final passage of WRDA 2016 later this week.
“We are one step closer to passing WRDA 2016, which will authorize and implement much-needed water infrastructure reforms in Louisiana and across the nation, and I look forward to passing this important legislation in the next few days,” said Vitter. “Considering the major damage Louisiana incurred from both of this year’s devastating flooding disasters, it’s more important than ever to overhaul our water infrastructure to better protect Louisiana families, businesses, and communities, and WRDA 2016 will do all of that, while also creating new, good-paying jobs to grow our economy.”
Vitter was instrumental in the construction of WRDA 2016 and successfully included several important provisions that will directly benefit Louisiana, including:
- Authorization of the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Hurricane Protection Project and the Southwest Coastal Louisiana Hurricane Protection Project, which will provide necessary protection for residents outside the New Orleans Hurricane Protection System along the Interstate 10 corridor and throughout communities in Southwest Louisiana.
- Authorization for reconstructing the aging Calcasieu Lock, ensuring safe, reliable transportation along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, one of the nation’s most vital shipping lanes.
- Reforms to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund that extend vital programs for those ports that move much of the nation’s energy commodities, modernize 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 ports along the Mississippi River.
- Authority for ports to get limited reimbursement for maintenance they perform using their own equipment on federal navigation channels to help clear the bureaucratic log jam in routine maintenance and operation of Louisiana waterways.
- Provisions that increase the beneficial use of dredged material, which is critically important for the restoration of Louisiana coast – including the placement of dredged material in a location other than the least cost alternative.
- 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 National Flood Insurance Program 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 and flood protection and ecosystem restoration for St. Tammany Parish.
After the recent devastating flooding in South Louisiana, Vitter also added language to WRDA 2016 that expedites construction of the Comite River Diversion and additional flood protection measures along the Amite River and Tributaries project in East Baton Rouge.