Provision Creating First-Ever Great Lakes Navigation System Included in WRRDA Bill, Passes House
October 23, 2013
U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10), member of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, praised the House of Representatives' strong bipartisan vote of XX to XX, passing H.R. 3080 - the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (WRRDA). Included in WRRDA, is Miller's provision designating all ports and harbors on the Great Lakes as a single, comprehensive navigation system for budgeting purposes -- the Great Lakes Navigation System -- essentially allowing the Great Lakes ports and harbors to create a unified front when it comes to federal funding.
WRRDA authorizes key missions of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to develop, maintain, and support our nation's waterways. Additionally, WRRDA allows Congress to update our nation's infrastructure policies to meet the demands of our dynamic maritime economy. H.R. 3080 -- WRRDA will now move to conference with the U.S. Senate. Miller said:
"A principle advocacy of mine has been to protect and promote our magnificent Great Lakes. And today the Great Lakes achieved a tremendous milestone when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act which for the first-time grants federal recognition of the Great Lakes as an important and unique navigation system.
"This single, comprehensive Great Lakes Navigation System is important because for far too long all the individually authorized commercial and recreational navigation projects in the Great Lakes have been pitted against one another to obtain needed funding. By designating the Great Lakes Navigation System navigation system, the Army Corps of Engineers will be required to look at the Great Lakes system in its entirety, rather than port by port, when allocating funding for dredging or maintenance. This will allow us to avoid future crises at our ports, harbors and channels as we have experienced in recent years due to low water levels.
"While other waterway channels and ports in our nation have access to funding, our Great Lakes waterways have faced decades of inadequate funding for dredging and infrastructure maintenance -- and it is long past time for that practice to change. Today we can celebrate an important step forward in the protection of the Great Lakes with House passage of the WRRDA bill."