Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Recently signed by President Obama, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WINN), which encompasses the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) legislation of 2016, authorizes needed investment in the maritime and waterways transportation system and provides flood protection for communities. The news of the passage of bill, which had bi-partisan support, was reported today in a press release from BoatUS, the nation’s largest organization of recreational boat owners.
According to the release, the bill “supports waterway-access projects, navigation and fisheries improvements, and provides maintenance funds for harbors of refuge.” The bill also creates a pilot program to look at beneficial uses of dredge material in hopes of lowering costs, and funds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for Everglades restoration, among other projects.
“Like a highway bill for boaters, passage of the WINN/WRDA is great news for American boaters,” said David Kennedy, BoatUS Government Affairs manager, in the release. “With the renewed attention to the nation’s infrastructure, BoatUS thanks Congress and the President for acting to keep our waterways open and channels clear.”
According to a statement released by the House Transportation Committee, the WINN/WRDA also aims to cut red tape by requiring more timely approvals, accelerates the permit process on non-federal modifications to USACE projects, and bolsters local participation in construction and maintenance of water infrastructure.
“These infrastructure improvements have been proposed at the local level in cooperation and consultation with the Corps, and have national economic and environmental benefits,” the statement read.
In addition to BoatUS, the bill had the support of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Ducks Unlimited, the US Chamber of Commerce, Marine Retailers Association of America, American Sportfishing Association, Center for Coastal Conservation, and American Waterways Operators.