The Water Resources and Redevelopment Act of 2013 (WRRDA), sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Blair), passed the House by a vast margin of 417 to 3.
Currently awaiting Senate conference, the bill’s purpose is to reduce bureaucracy and waiting periods for infrastructure projects, strengthen water transportation methods and produce jobs. Other goals include streamlining environmental reviews, defunding $12 billion in infrastructure projects that were authorized prior to the last water bill and establishing a more transparent review process for projects. WRRDA (WURD-uh) itself includes no earmarks.
Shuster sponsored this bill from his position as the House Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. His intention is to pass a water resources and infrastructure bill every two years to keep up with the demand for water related projects. This is the first water resources bill passed since 2007.
“It is legislation like this that is going to improve the way we move infrastructure projects forward efficiently. WRRDA is not just about construction jobs in our ports and waterways, but also long-term jobs in our manufacturing industry,“ Shuster said. “This legislation is about economic viability and competitiveness for the U.S. economy. It strengthens our infrastructure and is fiscally responsible at the same time.”
Congress has recently worsened their reputation of inefficiency and partisanship, so it is no small feat for Rep. Shuster to sponsor a bill that garners such support. In addition to working with his colleagues in Congress, Shuster pushed the legislation with this whiteboard explanation video of water infrastructure projects.
While the bill was immensely popular in Congress, Shuster took a hit from 2014 primary challenger, Art Halvorson.
“Under this guise, Mr. Shuster perpetuated a liberal economic policy for his first major legislation as the chairman. He missed a chance to reverse direction and fundamentally transform federal involvement in transportation. He merely trimmed the edges and called it reform,” Halvorson bemoaned. “We can now expect only more federal debt-financing, control, and central planning.”