Numerous agricultural groups celebrated the passage by the Senate of the conference report of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The report, which passed the House overwhelmingly earlier the same week, contains several key policy priorities.
“The Senate’s passage of the WRRDA conference report represents another important step toward improving and creating a more workable framework for increased investment in our waterways infrastructure. Soybean growers need a reliable and efficient waterways system to get our product to market and meet a growing global demand,” said Ray Gaesser, American Soybean Associatioin president. “Our waterways system helps take our soybeans from major growing regions to domestic processors and major exporting terminals, then on to valuable trading partners around the world, and is a big part of why soybeans lead the nation in agricultural exports. For too long we have ignored our infrastructure and this WRRDA is a strong step in the right direction.”
Included in the conference report are ASA-supported provisions that will free up significant funding within the Inland Waterways Trust Fund for additional waterways infrastructure projects; increase the level of Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund dollars that will be spent on port maintenance and dredging; streamline the Army Corps of Engineers’ project review process; increase Corps flexibility to maintain navigation during low water events; and promote the use of alternative financing and public-private partnerships to fund waterways infrastructure.
“Soybean farmers appreciate the work of Chairwoman Boxer and Ranking Member Vitter in helping to craft and pass legislation that will give our waterways infrastructure network the attention it needs,” Gaesser said. “We will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to implement the changes and improvements made in the WRRDA and seek the additional funding that will be needed to upgrade our infrastructure.”