Today the House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop and maintain the nation's waterways. With 276 miles along the Ohio river, Kentucky's 4th district is vitally important to the nation's waterborne transportation infrastructure. Congressman Massie, the only Kentuckian on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, cosponsored the legislation, which passed 417-3.
"Maintaining ports and harbors has been a federal priority for over 200 years. Seaports are important to international trade and national defense; rivers provide drinking water for millions of Americans; and locks and dams facilitate inland water transport of food, coal, and minerals," said Massie. "The President has been coordinating all of the nation's water projects, and spending money, without congressional direction. This bill allows the people, through their representatives, to finally weigh in on these projects. I think it is time to focus on our infrastructure at home and less on the infrastructure we fund overseas."
WRRDA is one of the most policy and reform focused measures of its kind in the last two decades. The bill contains no earmarks; de-authorizes $12 billion in inactive projects - fully offsetting the cost of new projects; streamlines project approval; and sets hard deadlines and cost controls.
Said Rep. Bill Shuster, Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: "WRRDA is essential for the improvement of our nation's waterway infrastructure, which plays a vital role in American job creation and competitiveness. This bipartisan bill contains no earmarks and makes major programmatic reforms to increase transparency, accountability, and Congressional oversight. Congressman Massie is a true leader in Kentucky and for our nation and I look forward to continuing work with him in our efforts to strengthen our water transportation network, eliminate red tape, and save taxpayer dollars."
Massie concluded, "Pursuant to our Constitution, there is in fact a federal role in transportation and infrastructure. Transportation infrastructure is one of the few things Congress actually should spend money on. The constitutionality of this issue was settled two centuries ago during our nation's infancy in 1824 with the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Gibbons v. Ogden, and congressional precedent for maintaining national infrastructure was established with the Rivers and Harbors Act that same year."