U.S. Senator John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), yesterday questioned R.D. James, assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, during a legislative hearing on S. 2800, America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA).
Barrasso asked James if the legislation would help fulfill some of the key principles outlined by President Trump of rebuilding America’s water infrastructure.
“As you know the president has made rebuilding America’s infrastructure a top priority of this administration.
“The president has talked about leveraging federal dollars to maximize investments being made in water infrastructure, and I believe this bill does that through programs like the WIFIA program, the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, which you’re very familiar with.
“So, my question is from your perspective, will this legislation really help fulfill some of the key principles outlined by President Trump of rebuilding America’s water infrastructure in a timely and effective manner with more of the focus on rural America and with more local control in decision-making?”
Assistant Secretary James:
“Sir, in my opinion it will. It addresses several things, including more work with the local sponsors, director work with local sponsors, and input from local sponsors. We’ve been lacking that for many years now.
“The other thing that I noticed in the bill, instead of addressing individual harbors and individual dredging needs along the east coast, they’re looked at as a system. So we know where the sediment is going after we dredge it.
“Then the work you’ve put into this bill in terms of moving obstacles away from the Corps, so that we can do the job better, as you direct it.”