WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Senate and House committee leaders announced a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on comprehensive water infrastructure legislation. Agreement on the legislation, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, was announced by U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Chairman of EPW, along with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), and top Democrat Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.).
“This water infrastructure bill shows how we can improve our communities, bolster our economy and help keep American families safe,” said Carper. “I’m glad members of both the Senate and House were able to find areas of agreement and reach a compromise on a major water infrastructure bill that will create good-paying jobs here at home, incentivize businesses to buy and use American products, invests in critical infrastructure like our country’s ports and waterways, and expands our investments in drinking water for the first time in more than two decades. Further, the bill will help coastal communities prepare for the growing risks of climate change and help communities across America invest in local water infrastructure needs. This legislation also creates greater transparency and improves collaboration between local and federal governments to ensure taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently. Today’s progress brings us one step closer to seeing this important infrastructure bill cross the finish line.”
“America needs comprehensive water infrastructure legislation that will cut Washington red tape, create jobs, and keep communities safe,” said Barrasso. “We have reached a bipartisan agreement with the House of Representatives to accomplish these important goals. This bill will help rural communities and cities. It will grow the nation’s economy and speed up important projects. Congress should pass this bipartisan consensus bill and send it to President Trump for his signature.”
“Water Resources Development Acts – WRDAs – are critical to building the infrastructure that moves goods, grains, resources, and energy products throughout the entire Nation, from our coasts to the interior, and everywhere in between,” said Shuster. “WRDA, as included in the America’s Water Infrastructure Act, will ensure that we stay economically competitive with other countries. When I became Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman, I prioritized returning Congress to the regular consideration of these infrastructure bills, and I am proud that we have an opportunity now to send the third WRDA during my chairmanship to the president.”
“This bipartisan legislation will authorize water infrastructure projects developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will strengthen our coastal communities, help keep us competitive in the world economy, and restore our coastal environment,” said DeFazio. “These critical water infrastructure projects will improve our Nation’s ports, harbors, and waterways, and create and sustain thousands of good-paying American jobs. I applaud my colleagues for their bipartisan work, and I look forward to getting this bill passed and signed into law.”
The agreement would:
- Include billions of dollars in deauthorizations – making the legislation fiscally responsible;
- Authorize federal funding for water infrastructure projects, which leverages billions in water infrastructure spending;
- Expand water storage capabilities;
- Assist local communities in complying with the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act by upgrading aging drinking water, wastewater and irrigation systems;
- Reduce flooding risks for rural, western, and coastal communities;
- Ensure that America maintains the competitiveness of our coastal and inland ports, and maintain the navigability of our inland waterways;
- Create a new framework to allow for more Army Corps projects to be budgeted with increased local stakeholder input and expanded transparency;
- Authorize or reauthorize important water infrastructure programs and projects; and
- Address significant water infrastructure needs in tribal communities.
Read the text of America’s Water Infrastructure Act here.
Carper and Barrasso, together with EPW Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee ranking member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced S. 2800, America’s Water Infrastructure Act. On May 22, 2018, the legislation unanimously passed the EPW committee by a vote of 21 to 0.