Water Resources Reform & Development Act a Chance for Reform
This past Wednesday the House passed, by a bipartisan vote of 417-3, landmark legislation known as the Water Resources Reform & Development Act (WRRDA), which supports jobs and trade in Arkansas by maintaining our critical waterways infrastructure. A fiscally responsible bill, it makes smart reforms that will keep Arkansas growers and manufacturers competitive on the global stage by driving down transportation costs and promoting international trade.
Historically, Congress has enacted water resources reform legislation every two years. Yet, the last such legislation to be enacted into law was in 2007 – nearly 5 years overdue. This bill is a reform bill, called the most responsible water resources legislation ever considered – de-authorizing $12 billion in outdated or unnecessary projects while simultaneously making smart investments in our ports and waterways that lead to jobs and growth. The bill also cuts burdensome bureaucratic red tape, reducing the amount of wasted taxpayer dollars on paperwork and lost time while narrowly focusing on important projects for authorization. The bill focuses on broad reforms that maintain Congressional oversight of water infrastructure projects and serves as an important check on the power of the Executive Branch.
America currently enjoys a competitive advantage over other nations in the global marketplace because of our well-developed waterways infrastructure that makes it cheap and easy for our producers to transport goods to our ports and be shipped across the world. Currently, roughly one-third of the United States’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is generated by international trade, with 99% of those goods passing through our ports. If we fail to maintain these critical arteries of commerce, developing nations like Brazil who are investing in their own infrastructure to compete with our producers will diminish or erase this advantage we currently enjoy.
Maintaining our waterways infrastructure means jobs and growth for Arkansans. I am proud to serve on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee which authored this legislation and brought it to the floor, and I was proud to cosponsor the bill and support its passage last week. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to see this strong reform legislation passed into law which will reduce the debt, create jobs, and keep America and Arkansas competitive on the global stage.