WASHINGTON — The following is a statement by Maria Lehman, P.E., ENV SP, president, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
ASCE applauds Congress for passing the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) for 2022, which was included in the National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation authorizes construction for 25 new and existing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) water infrastructure projects, including those related to dams, ports and inland waterways, flood risk management, and storm risk reduction. We are encouraged that the biannual reauthorization of WRDA continues to be a congressional priority.
ASCE applauds Congress for WRDA 2022 authorizing and establishing several programs dedicated to ensuring that our nation’s water resources infrastructure benefits communities across the country. These accomplishments include reauthorizing the National Levee Safety Program; authorizing dredging activity in underserved community harbors; authorizing the USACE to recruit individuals more actively for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and enhancing infrastructure resilience, such as allowing the USACE to incorporate resilience measures into federally authorized hurricane or shore protection projects when performing emergency repairs. ASCE is also pleased to see that WRDA 2022 makes the current federal cost share formula for Inland Waterways Trust Fund projects permanent, with 65% coming from the general fund and 35% from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF). ASCE strongly supports this provision, as it was a key recommendation to raise the nation’s “D+” inland waterways grade in the 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.
Additionally, ASCE strongly supports provisions in WRDA 2022 that will enhance the safety of the nation’s dams and levees, which each received a “D” grade in the 2021 report card. The bill requires the Corps to establish a new National Low-Head Dam Inventory to account for the nation’s low-head dams, which can pose significant public hazards. Identifying and monitoring these types of dams nationwide will contribute to the overall safety of the nation’s dams and help to save lives.
Finally, the reauthorization of WRDA works hand-in-hand with the additional investments made in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This reauthorization shows that infrastructure remains a bipartisan priority. We thank Congress for passing this legislation and look forward to translating these investments to critical water infrastructure system improvements nationwide. For more information, visit www.asce.org.