Hearing Examines Water Infrastructure’s Role in a 21st Century Economy
Washington, DC – Earlier today, the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held its first hearing of the 115th Congress. Following on the broad themes emerging out of the full Committee’s kick-off hearing last month, the Subcommittee explored the role of federal agencies in building water infrastructure that is ready for the challenges of the 21st century.
“Over the last four years, the Committee has developed a track record of moving critical water infrastructure legislation through Congress in a timely and effective manner,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “Our ports, waterways, and other water resources infrastructure are critical to a transportation network that allows commerce to thrive and communities to flourish. We need to continue working together to ensure this infrastructure can be built and improved efficiently in order to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
In 2016, Congress passed the bipartisan Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. A key component of the WIIN Act was the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, which authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to undertake port, waterway, and flood protection improvements across the country. The Committee now is looking towards developing a WRDA bill for 2018 and today’s hearing represents the first step in that process.
The Subcommittee’s hearing, “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: The Role of Federal Agencies in Water Infrastructure,” examined how the federal government, in conjunction with its partners in state and local government, can work to reduce inefficiencies and delays in project delivery, include affordability considerations in the rulemaking process, better use data and technology, and maximize benefits from existing resources.
“There has to be transformational change across these agencies for our country to realize the full competitive advantage of its water infrastructure,” said U.S. Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. “Bureaucracy is ineffective, disruptive, and has contributed to our infrastructure’s state of decay. Doing things the same old way won’t get us to a 21st century system. As we work with the president on enhancing infrastructure investment, fixing these broken processes will be key to getting the job done.”
Video of today’s hearing can be found on the Committee’s website here.