Washington, DC –U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement after attending the signing of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) into law at the White House today:
“I’m pleased that both chambers of Congress passed WRRDA and that President Obama signed this bill into law today, which includes major portions of my RIVER Act that will create jobs, grow our economy and make essential upgrades to the country’s aging locks and dams. Pennsylvania’s locks and dams play a vital role in creating and sustaining jobs and supporting economic growth throughout the country. In Southwestern Pennsylvania alone, over 200,000 jobs rely on the proper functioning of the region’s inland waterways system.”
The final version of WRRDA contained four major pieces of the RIVER Act, which are listed below. With the Olmsted cost-share adjustment, it is estimated over $124 million will be freed up for the Lower Mon and other priority projects. The Senate and House both passed the final bill with overwhelming bipartisan votes. Other notable provisions include: a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation pilot program that will provide direct loans and loan guarantees water infrastructure, flood projects, and waste water treatment plants, prioritization of ecosystem restoration projects, and reforms for accelerated project delivery and increased local participation in Army Corps projects.
- Olmsted Federalization: Permanent Cost-Sharing for the remaining cost of the Olmsted project will be 85% General Fund, 15% Inland Waterways Trust Fund, freeing up approximately $124 million per year for Lower Mon and other priority projects with Olmsted funded at $150 million per year.
- Definition of Major Rehabilitation: increased from current law level of $14 million to $20 million and adjusted annually for inflation.
- Prioritization of Projects: This will ensure projects are prioritized based upon risk of failure and economic benefit to the Nation
- Project Delivery: New reforms to achieve on-time and on-budget performance.