After clearing Senate, the water resources bill, known as WRDA, is now headed to president’s desk
WRDA is key to moving forward on critical infrastructure projects carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
From tribal housing and harbor deepening, to Puget Sound restoration and drinking water infrastructure, Senator Murray worked to ensure WA priorities were included in final bill
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) today voted in support of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes specific projects and activities related to water infrastructure, including ports, waterways, locks, flood protection, and environmental and habitat restoration. During the negotiation process, Senator Murray fought on behalf of Washington state, ensuring the legislation supports addressing the tribal housing crisis along the Columbia River, increasing investments to combat invasive species in the Columbia River Basin, restoring critical nearshore habitat in the Puget Sound, authorizing construction of the Seattle Harbor deepening project, and directing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineering to expedite completion of the Tacoma Harbor deepening study, among other things.
“Just like we need to invest in our roads and bridges, improving and maintaining our waterways is critically important to everyday life in Washington state, whether it means projects to help prevent flooding, or deepening channels and maintaining the locks that allow ships and boats to come and go, or habitat restoration” Senator Murray said.“I’m especially proud that with this bill, the federal government will continue to invest in the health of the Puget Sound ecosystem and also make headway on efforts to ensure tribal members have access to safe, reliable housing along the Columbia River so treaty Tribes can exercise their protected rights.”
In addition to waterways infrastructure, Senator Murray worked to build upon efforts to address the nation’s aging drinking water infrastructure. Specifically, the legislation passed today reauthorizes a loan program and almost doubles the program to nearly $2 billion by 2021; assists small and disadvantaged communities with testing and treating contamination in water systems; and provides additional assistance to schools and child care programs to voluntarily test for lead and replace drinking water fountains. As the top Democrat on the Senate education committee, Senator Murray has been a leader in Congress in pushing for more information about testing for lead in schools, and requested that the Government Accountability Office look into the issue. In July, the GAO reported that fewer than half of school districts across the U.S. had tested for lead, and of those that had, more than one-third found elevated levels. As a result of its findings, GAO made seven recommendations to address lead in school drinking water.