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By Melanie Condon

It has been seven years since Congress has passed a reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), the act that funds water infrastructure projects such as harbor maintenance and operations, levees construction and port activities across the country.

NCSL has been advocating for certain provisions to assist the states and is pleased with their inclusion in the conference agreement.

This week both the House and Senate passed H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) with almost unanimous support, and it is now on its way to the president to be signed into law.

NCSL sent a letter May 22 to the House and Senate Conference Committee leaders in support of two specific provisions within the final WRRDA that match up with NCSL policy, specifically as it relates to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and water infrastructure financing.

Over the past year, NCSL staff has had multiple meetings with House and Senate staff to stress our position that Congress needs to make full use of the taxes collected for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund solely for harbor maintenance and operations. Section 2101 of the final WRRDA ensures that by 2025, 100 percent of the funds collected in the HMTF will go specifically to harbor upkeep projects.

NCSL staff has also been actively advocating for protecting the State Revolving Funds (SRF), which finance infrastructure improvements to protect the quality of our water. Title V of WRRDA establishes a pilot program, the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority (WIFIA), that provides credit assistance to state and local governments for drinking water, wastewater and other water resource projects. 

NCSL was particularly pleased with the safeguards included within Title V of WRRDA to ensure that funding for the WIFIA pilot is in addition to, not in place of, the SRFs.

WRRDA will go into effect in 2015. Check out NCSL’s outreach to the 113th Congress on WRRDA below:

Melanie Condon is a NCSL policy associate with the Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee.

Email Melanie.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.

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