Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the House of Representatives introduced the bipartisan “Water Resources Development Act of 2020” (WRDA). This legislation authorizes the Corps of Engineers funding for improvements to ports, waterways and projects tied to flood protection, drinking water, dams and levees and environmental restoration. The legislation also includes Loebsack’s priorities to direct the Corps of Engineers to analyze the affordability of future municipal water supply allocations to users of the Rathbun Regional Water Association (RRWA), and to adjust the federal cost share for infrastructure projects along the nation’s inland waterways.
“Our crumbling infrastructure is an area in which continued investment is absolutely critical. These investments create jobs, have a direct impact on our economy, and provide safety and protection for Iowans. Our farmers, manufacturers, businesses and local economies rely on the Mississippi River infrastructure. It is clear that the locks and dams along the Mississippi River are deteriorating and significantly harming the economic development in the region,” said Loebsack. “This bill is very important to Iowa, not just for the locks and dams, but also for much of our flood protection and Army Corps projects that are needed to keep our communities safe. The House and Senate must act without further delay to pass a comprehensive water infrastructure bill that can be signed into law.”
Loebsack priorities included in WRDA:
- Instructs the Corps of Engineers to study the potential for expanding the existing municipal water supply storage at Rathbun Lake. Rathbun Lake has 15,000 acre-feet of storage allocated for water supply, with the RRWA using 6,680 acre-feet to supply drinking water to communities across southeast Iowa. Expanding the municipal water supply storage at an affordable cost will help meet the demand for clean, safe drinking water in Iowa’s rural communities and maintain essential water sources in the region.
- Increases the federal government’s share for funding construction and rehabilitation projects on inland waterways from 50:50 to 65:35. This change will improve the efficiency of movement of goods and commodities on America’s great rivers and accelerate project delivery for crucial lock and dam infrastructure on the Upper Mississippi River.
Additional items included in WRDA:
- Prioritizes technical assistance and support to flood risk resiliency planning efforts in economically-disadvantaged and rural communities
- Gives the Corps of Engineers authority to study and construct permanent flood risk management measures in communities that have experienced repeated flooding or have received emergency flood-fighting assistance.
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