Great Lakes News

Great Lakes News

President Signs WRRDA Act to Protect Great Lakes


President Obama recently signed the 2013 Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA); a bill that acknowledges that recreational boating is a significant contributor to the nation’s economy and local communities.

The $12.3 billion bipartisan legislation recognizes that the Federal government needs to do more to help small harbors, address longstanding dredging issues and improve boating and navigation infrastructure.

“From small West Coast ports to Great Lakes harbors of refuge, inland locks, and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, boat owners depend on federal waterway infrastructure projects to keep them safe and provide authorized waterways deep enough for us to navigate,” said BoatUS Government Affairs Senior Program Coordinator David Kennedy. “With 12 million registered boats in the US and over 80 million persons participating in boating, we also need to remember that boating generates $121 billion in US economic activity and over 950,000 jobs.”

WRRDA will treat the Great Lakes as one unified system, potentially allowing funding for dredging of smaller harbors.

The bill “promotes our Nation’s competitiveness, prosperity and economic growth by upholding the seminal federal responsibility to maintain a strong transportation infrastructure and ensure the efficient flow of domestic and international commerce.”

In addition, the US Army Corps are authorized to study potential new revenue sources for the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. They are also directed to develop, maintain and support the Nation’s waterways with flood protection and environmental restoration needs.

The bills sponsors are Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Nick Rahall III (D-WV) and Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and David Vitter (R-LA) along with the President.

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