Today the U.S. Senate approved the Water Resources Development Act of 2013 that provides policy guidance and investment to the nation’s waterways. In response, the co-chairs of Building America’s Future Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I-NYC) and former Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA) issued the following statement:
“By approving this legislation, Congress is one step closer to implementing crucial reforms, speeding the project delivery process and improving how the nation invests in its ports, waterways, dams and levees. In particular, BAF congratulates Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and David Vitter (R-LA) for their leadership and hard work in crafting and a final bill that garnered significant and bipartisan support. Investment in the nation’s marine transportation systems is a vital component to ensuring America’s continued economic growth and competitiveness in the 21st century.”
BAF is particularly supportive of reforms made to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, the creation of a new Water Infrastructure Financing program, and provisions that would provide resilience and protect communities impacted by future natural disasters, including hurricanes, tropical storms and other extreme weather events.
As was seen most recently with the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, it did not just impact life in the affected communities. Its effects rippled across the nation as commerce into and out of the East Coast were significantly diminished and mobility for millions was severely impacted.
“The devastating impacts of Hurricane Sandy illustrate how important strong and smartly designed infrastructure is along our coasts and in our cities. With today’s bipartisan passage of the Water Resources bill, the Senate acknowledges the challenges our nation confronts in protecting our essential waterways in the face of climate change,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Provisions of the bill will help ensure the Army Corps of Engineers works expeditiously and responds with programs and projects that will reduce flood risks and promote coastal resiliency. I would especially like to thank Senator Gillibrand for her important work as part of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, as well as Senator Schumer for his leadership. We look forward to this bill being considered and passed by the House as soon as possible.”
“We all know that for the United States to remain competitive in a global economy we must have a first class infrastructure,” said Governor Rendell. “By passing its WRDA bill with an impressive and bipartisan margin, the Senate has gone on record in support of a 21st century plan to make critical investments in our ports, waterways, dams and levees. And by making crucial reforms to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, the revenues collected can finally begin to be used for their intended purpose – ensuring that our ports remain economically competitive.”
“When it comes to the economic competitiveness of our ports we have our work cut out for us,” continued Rendell. “The World Economic Forum has ranked the quality of U.S. port infrastructure number 19 behind such countries as Estonia and Iceland.”