Opening Statement of Senator Barbara Boxer
Full Committee Hearing: "WRDA 2010: Jobs and Economic Opportunities"
May 6, 2010
(Remarks as prepared for delivery.)

Today's hearing will examine the ways investment in our nation's water resources infrastructure creates and saves jobs and increases America's economic competitiveness. This is the kickoff hearing as we begin our efforts to develop a Water Resources Development Act of 2010 - known as WRDA -- which will authorize the projects and programs of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

As Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, job creation is a top priority. As we will hear from the witnesses today, water infrastructure investment is a proven job creator. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that every $1 billion in federal investment in water resources projects creates approximately 26,000 jobs.

Investments in the nation's water resources not only create and sustain jobs in the short term -- they help us with economic recovery. They provide benefits to American families and businesses every day - including maintaining navigation routes for commerce, reducing the risk of flooding, and restoring precious ecosystems.

I look forward to working with Senator Inhofe and other colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move forward with a Water Resources Development Act this year. I'm hopeful we can repeat the success we had in 2007 when we worked together to enact a Water Resources Development Act with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate. That bill had not been passed in seven years, and with WRDA 2010 we can return to a more regular cycle of revisiting this important legislation every few years.

From trade to transportation, disaster prevention to rural recreation, the Water Resources Development Act and the projects, policies, and programs it authorizes are essential components of creating jobs and keeping our economy growing.

In my home state of California, where we are facing some of the nation's most critical water resources needs, many communities rely on the projects and programs authorized by WRDA. The port of Oakland, which is represented here today by Mr. Victor Uno, benefited significantly from past WRDA bills that authorized the Corps to deepen the port's navigation channel. This improvement is critical to bringing ships into the port and maintaining the commerce and jobs associated with one of the busiest ports in the world.

My state also faces significant flood risk, and there are a number of critical flood protection projects across the state that are necessary to protect life and property and to ensure that California maintains its economic competitiveness. The Water Resources Development Act of 2007 made significant progress on flood control projects in the capitol of Sacramento and many other cities across the state. It is important that we build on this successful effort as we start WRDA 2010 and ensure that these important projects can continue.

I am grateful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their interest in this issue, and I look forward to moving ahead together on a Water Resources Development Act that ensures progress on important projects and programs that create jobs, support commerce, and promote recovery and long-term prosperity.

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