Following a fly-in in which several corn states lobbied key legislators on the need for upgraded waterways infrastructure, Senators Boxer and Vitter, joined by Congressmen Shuster and Rahall, jointly announced a conference agreement on a final Water Resources Development Act for 2014.
The one paragraph statement was accompanied by a note saying papers would be finalized over the next week (the House is in recess) and details will be available when the conference report is filed. House and Senate votes to approve the agreement are expected the week of May 19, 2014.
“We are proud to deliver what the American public wants and needs. This conference report maintains ports and navigation routes for commerce and the movement of goods, provides flood control that protects lives and property, and restores vital ecosystems to preserve our natural heritage. This important measure will strengthen our Nation’s infrastructure and keep America competitive in the global marketplace.”
Earlier this week, the Waterways Council Inc organized a fly-in. Illinois participated, as well as several other corn states, and spoke with key members of Congress on the need to move this bill. It appears that Congress listened, delivering an agreement that finalizes the WRDA 2014 legislation.
We look forward to reading the text of the bill next week to determine the extent of federal cost sharing for the completion of Olmsted Lock and Dam (previous versions of the bill had federal obligations increased to between 75 and 100 percent) and other key provisions that will move us one step closer to modernized waterway infrastructure in the Mississippi River Basin.