This week, the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unveiled the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2013. Touting a reduction in bureaucracy, no earmarks and the promotion of fiscal responsibility, the bill sets policy and authorizes the U.S. Corps of Engineers to address environmental restoration, navigational and flood protection needs across the nation.  Historically, a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) authorizing Corps infrastructure projects has passed every two years; however, the Congress has not approved a WRDA bill since 2007.

Released by House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster, WRRDA 2013 authorizes approximately $10 billion in infrastructure investments, while offsetting this spending by de-authorizing $12 billion in projects.  The bill also limits the Corps’ project feasibility study process to 3 years and no more than $3 million in costs.

A half dozen environmental restoration and navigation projects in Florida are currently ready for authorization through a water bill, including four Everglades Restoration projects. The Corps is aiming to complete four additional project reports by the end of the year to also ready them for Congressional authorization.

The U.S. Senate passed its version of the 2013 WRDA bill this past May by an 83-14 vote. The Florida Association of Counties will consider a formal policy position on the Water Resources and Reform Development Act of 2013 at its Policy Conference next week.

To read a summary of the WRRDA bill, visit: http://goo.gl/SYM6kR. For a section by section bill summary, visit: http://goo.gl/LKBfyr. For full text of the WRRDA bill visit: http://transportation.house.gov/sites/republicans.transportation.house.gov/files/images/WRRDA2013.pdf