Congress has a lot on its plate after the summer recess.
Although the war drums on Syria and the fiscal budget battle will likely take up a lot of oxygen on Capitol Hill, other legislation is moving forward at a rapid pace as well. One major piece of legislation in the water sector will be the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2013.
The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) stated last month: “This bill will be the most policy and reform-focused legislation of its kind in the last two decades. This legislation will contain no earmarks and will make major reforms to increase transparency, accountability, and Congressional oversight in reviewing and prioritizing future water resources development activities. WRRDA will cut federal red tape and bureaucracy, streamline the project delivery process, promote fiscal responsibility, and strengthen our water transportation networks to promote American competitiveness, prosperity, and economic growth.”
The need for reform is getting more obvious over the years. “We are literally studying infrastructure projects to death. While it once took the Corps of Engineers three to five years to complete a study, it has now become the norm for this process to take 10 to 15 years,” said Bob Gibbs (R-OH). “The unwieldy review process remains tied up in red tape, costing us time and money and preventing action. Congress must change the way the Corps of Engineers does business.”
The legislation is now in the markup phase of the Committee. More details can be found at: http://transportation.house.gov/