OCTOBER | NOVEMBER 2014 BoatU.S. Magazine | 15
ON JUNE 11, President Obama signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) into law. The mea- sure, which has been called
“The Highway Bill For Boaters,” is the funding
mechanism for the nation’s waterway infrastructure and makes funds available for the
maintenance of vital boating spots nationwide.
“Although the bill focuses on major ports
and thoroughfares critical to our nation’s
shipping economy, this reauthorization is
particularly important to recreational boaters
as well,” said David Kennedy of BoatU.S.
Government Affairs. “The bill signed into
law addresses the maintenance and dredging
for small harbors and shallow-draft channels,
which has been chronically underfunded.”
For years many channels and inlets, as
well as locks and dams, have not qualified
for funding because of the measurement
tool used by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Historically the Corps has prioritized fund-
ing needs by total tonnage going through
the areas, rather than considering the other
various uses of the nation’s waterways. The
2013 WRRDA directs the Army Corps of
Engineers to consider factors beyond total
tonnage shipped when making dredging
funding decisions. It also requires that not
less than 10 percent of the value of opera-
tion and maintenance funds be given to
“Emerging Harbors” or those that have less
than 1 million tons of cargo shipped annu-
ally, and directs the Army Corps to report to
Congress on the maintenance needs of the
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster and
Ranking Member Nick Rayhall sponsored
the bill, and Senators Barbara Boxer and
David Vitter were also instrumental in getting this measure to the President’s desk.
— NICOLE PALYA WOOD