Pittsburgh, PA- On the heels of a major bipartisan agreement, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), joined by business leaders from across the region, called for a quick vote on his legislation that could make up to $124 million available to Southwestern Pennsylvania’s aging locks and dams. Negotiators from both chambers recently announced an agreement on the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) which includes major portions of Senator Casey’s RIVER Act. Casey’s proposal was first unveiled in Pittsburgh in 2013 and is now on the cusp of becoming law. It would dedicate additional resources to the region’s locks and dams and make reforms that limit cost overruns in the future. Casey and business leaders from the region laid out a vision for what the increased funding will do for Southwestern Pennsylvania’s locks and dams, which have a dramatic impact on the economy.
“Pennsylvania’s locks and dams play a vital role in creating and sustaining jobs and supporting economic growth throughout the country,” said Senator Casey. “In Southwestern Pennsylvania alone, over 200,000 jobs rely on the proper functioning of the dams on the lower Monongahela River. I’m calling on Congress to pass WRRDA, which will create jobs, grow our economy and make vital upgrades to the region’s aging locks and dams.”
Last week after months of negotiations, the Senate and the House filed a conference agreement on WRRDA, which contained major pieces of Senator Casey’s RIVER Act. These provisions include a permanent cost-share adjustment for the Olmstead project, freeing up approximately $124 million for the Lower Monongahela and other priority projects. Major rehabilitation, prioritization of projects based on their risk and economic benefit, and reforms for project delivery are also included in the final legislation.
During the event, the Senator also accepted the 2014 Waterways Council Inc. Leadership Service Award for his work on the RIVER Act and leadership with the inland waterways and its infrastructure issues.