Garamendi Votes for Water Resources Reform & Development Act to Strengthen Flood Protection, Port & Waterway Infrastructure
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA3), whose district includes 200 miles of the Sacramento River and is adjacent to several major ports, voted for the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funding for improvements to America’s ports, waterways, and projects tied to flood protection, drinking water, dams, levees, and environmental restoration.
Congressman Garamendi, the only Northern California Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, released the following statement on its passage:
“This bill is extremely important for my constituents and our nation. The levee projects provide life-saving protection for residents throughout California’s flood prone Central Valley. The construction projects will rebuild our crumbling water infrastructure and create jobs. By revitalizing our ports, waterways, and natural habitats, this bill supports business development, including the agriculture businesses in my district that export their products around the world.
“The Natomas Levee Improvement Project will be authorized because of this bill and will increase flood protection for thousands of residents in the Sacramento area. However, I believe the bill’s project authorization could be expanded to include those projects that are on their way to a completed Chief’s Report, such as a project in the Sutter Basin. I thank Committee leadership for including much needed language instructing the Corps to make a decision on levee vegetation based on local circumstances.
“I also want to continue the dialogue with my colleagues on strengthening the crediting provisions in the bill. Crediting is critical to ensure timely investments in public infrastructure. These changes would not require any additional federal resources. They simply give local agencies more advance notice and allow them to begin construction to address flood threats. I support the measures in the bill to expand opportunities for international trade by providing the resources to deepen and expand our nation’s ports and waterways. This bill moves in the right direction of ensuring more money comes back to the ports. However, I believe more can be done to make sure California gets a fair shake. I will continue to work with my colleagues across the aisle and in our state delegation to advocate for these changes.
“This bill is a milestone in a divided Congress and represents a good compromise from both sides. I thank the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairs and Ranking Members for developing a bipartisan bill that will add a needed boost to our economic recovery.”
In 1986, an Army Corps of Engineers overhaul envisioned passage of a new Water Resources Development Act (as it is traditionally titled) every two years, but it has already been more than six years since the last WRDA legislation passed in 2007. Due to this lapse, the Army Corps of Engineers lacks much-needed authorization and direction to accomplish the important tasks they were mandated. In an increasingly competitive global trade environment, a lack of investment in this vital infrastructure means losing a competitive advantage to countries like Brazil. This WRRDA bill now heads to a Conference Committee to be reconciled with the Senate-passed bill. The Administration has indicated that it supports the House-passed measure.
WRRDA videos, letters of support, bill text, and information booklet are available at https://transportation.house.gov/WRRDA.