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5-17-2013 Federal Transportation Briefing
Water Resources Development Act
On May 15, the Senate amended and passed S 601, the Water Resources Development Act of 2013 (WRDA) authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works program, including river operations and issues. The vote was 83-14, with Senator Harkin and Senator Grassley both voting “yes.”
As passed, the bill:
- authorizes Corps activities and projects;
- funds the Olmsted lock and dam project on the Ohio River (near Olmsted, Illinois) entirely from the general fund, freeing up Inland Waterway Trust Fund (IWTF) revenue for other projects;
- includes a pilot program to evaluate non-federal interests carrying out certain projects including inland harbor navigation, flood risk management and other activities;
- authorizes federal support for state levee safety programs and grants;
- streamlines certain environmental requirements; and
- creates a loan and loan guarantee program called WIFIA for certain water projects that produce a revenue stream and cost at least $20 million.
A proposed Senate amendment to increase the per-gallon diesel tax going into the IWTF was dropped due partly to concerns about the requirement that tax legislation originate in the House. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has jurisdiction on the House side and will write its own bill.
Working under a funding cap reflecting continued sequestration in FY 2014, the House Appropriations Committee has divided the overall pool of $967 billion between the 12 subcommittees. Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) would receive $44.1 billion, which is 14.5 percent lower than the FY 2013 level. However, Congressman Latham, who chairs the T-HUD subcommittee, reiterated that the Highway Trust Fund is not subject to the sequester and that other programs would bear the brunt of the cuts. These cuts would likely come from programs under Housing and Urban Development.
In the Senate, the FY 2014 budget resolution assumes an end to the sequester and allows for a pool of $1.058 trillion to divide between committees. These caps are likely to change, however - especially if Congress comes to a larger budget agreement.
Sept. 30, 2013 – Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013
Sept. 30, 2013 - water resource and development programs (WRDA of 2007)
Sept. 30, 2013 - passenger rail and freight safety programs (PRIIA of 2008)
Sept. 30, 2014 - surface transportation programs (MAP-21)
Sept. 30, 2015 - aviation programs (Air Transportation Modernization & Safety Improvement Act, 2012)
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