ASCE Legislative Victory: Passage of WRDA 2020

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Today, Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020 – a major legislative victory for ASCE! The House and Senate passed WRDA 2020 with bipartisan support as a part of the massive end of the year appropriations and stimulus package.

Throughout 2020, ASCE members and staff advocated for improvement in all 16 infrastructure categories, including water-related categories. Continue reading to find out how ASCE’s advocacy efforts drove the passage of this year’s WRDA reauthorization.

ASCE Advocates for WRDA

The passage of WRDA was a key issue at ASCE’s 2020 legislative fly-in in March. The signing of this bill into law would not have been possible without the incredible advocacy of ASCE’s members. Advocacy efforts included over 1,100 emails to over 260 congressional offices!

Say “Thank You!”

We are pleased that this legislation includes so many of ASCE’s water infrastructure priorities and that WRDA was passed during its regular biennial cycle – this is the fourth WRDA bill since 2014. We urge you to contact your Members of Congress and thank them for their vote for this important legislation bill. We also want to sincerely thank ASCE’s Key Contacts for their hard work and support throughout the legislative process. You can read ASCE’s thank you letter to Congressional leadership here.

About WRDA

This bill authorizes key programs and projects that are critical to improving our nation’s water-related infrastructure categories. The 2017 Infrastructure Report Card graded each of these categories as follows:

While the final legislation did not include the drinking water, wastewater, or stormwater provisions that ASCE supported in earlier drafts of the legislation, the final bill does include many ASCE priorities, including:

  • Full utilization of the $10 billion balance in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund by allowing $500 million to be appropriated in FY21, with an increase of $100 million annually until it is fully expended by 2030.
  • Amending the Inland Waterways Trust Fund’s (IWTF) cost share from 50% general revenue/50% IWTF to 65-35 for construction and rehabilitation projects.
  • Technical changes to the High Hazard Potential Dam Rehabilitation Program that are designed to improve implementation of the program.
  • Resilience measures that encourage nature-based infrastructure solutions and offer more flexibility in identifying long-term solutions for repetitive flooding.

Passage of this legislation ensures investment in the needs of our water resources infrastructure systems – levees, dams, inland waterways, and ports – all of which protect public safety and health, ensure a strong economy, preserve and enhance our environmental resources, and build a modern, efficient network of infrastructure that can compete on a global stage. The bill must now be signed into law by President Trump.

 

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