Yesterday, the Senate passed S. 3021, the America’s Water Infrastructure Now Act of 2018, or the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018 by a vote of 99-1. Earlier this year, ASCE President Kristina Swallow testified before the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee about the importance of long-term, strategic investment in America’s water resources systems. A key issue at ASCE’s 2018 Legislative Fly-in, the passage of this bill would not have been possible without the incredible advocacy of ASCE’s members over the course of the past year – over 1,600 emails to over 320 congressional offices.
This bill authorizes key programs and projects that are critical to improving our nation’s water-related infrastructure categories. The 2017 Infrastructure Report Card graded each of these categories as follows:
The final legislative language contains many of the provisions that ASCE has championed, including three of ASCE members’ “asks” during our March 2018 Legislative Fly-In: reauthorization of the National Levee Safety Program and the National Dam Safety Program, two programs designed to improve dam and levee safety, as well as authorization of the Securing Required Funds for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act, a new financing vehicle for critical drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects to help restore our nation’s water infrastructure. Finally, the legislation includes reauthorization of two additional programs ASCE supports – the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) successful Water Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act (WIFIA) and reauthorization of the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for three-years at increasing funding levels, eventually rising to $1.95 billion in FY2021.
We are pleased that this legislation includes so many of ASCE’s water infrastructure priorities and that WRDA was passed during its regular biennial cycle – this is the third WRDA bill since 2014. We urge you to contact your Senators and thank them for their vote for this important legislation bill. We expect President Trump to sign S. 3021 into law in the coming days. We also want to sincerely thank our Key Contacts for their hard work and support throughout the legislative process.
Read ASCE’s official statement on the House’s September passage of WRDA.