WRDA 2016‎ Includes Major Wins for Louisiana, Vitter Says

U.S. Senator David Vitter has issued the following statement regarding yesterday’s passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA) out of the U.S. Senate.

WRDA 2016 will help improve flood control, water infrastructure development and coastal hurricane protection throughout Louisiana.

After yesterday’s overwhelmingly bipartisan passage, the legislation will head to the House of Representatives, who could vote on the legislation next week.

“Louisianians will always be facing natural disasters, so we should be taking every possible action to ensure that flood protection projects get constructed,” said Vitter.

“WRDA 2016 will help facilitate those aggressive, proactive measures by holding the Army Corps accountable to delivering projects on time, giving local officials the authority they need to bypass unnecessary red tape, and creating real, good-paying jobs to complete projects – like the Comite River Diversion – that will grow Louisiana’s 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 the 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.