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11-15-2013 Federal Transportation
Water Resources Development
All conferees have been appointed to negotiate a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the water resources development bill now called HR 3080. House members who will serve (chosen yesterday) include 25 members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and three members of the Committee on Natural Resources. Senate members were appointed Nov. 4 and include eight members of the Environment and Public Works Committee. None of the conferees are from Iowa.
The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (WRRDA) passed the House on Oct. 23 by an overwhelming margin, 417-3. The Senate passed S. 601 in May, also by a bipartisan vote of 83-14. One major difference between the two versions is their approach to project authorization. While both establish a set of criteria for choosing future projects, the Senate would technically leave the final choice to the Army Corps of Engineers, while the House would give the final say to Congress. (In fact, the House bill actually names 23 specific projects, including $67.2 million for flood risk management on the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids.) Other differences: the Senate includes a comprehensive national levee safety program which the House does not, and S 601 adds language throughout requiring a watershed approach to planning and projects – HR 3080 does not generally require this.
Congress has passed, and sent to the President for signature, a bill to address bureaucratic barriers within FAA that slow aircraft design and modification. Seen as a positive step by the general aviation community, HR 1848 requires FAA to finalize, by Dec. 15, 2015, rules regarding safety standards for small planes.
Funding/authorization expiration dates:
Jan. 15, 2014 – Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 (HR 2775)
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)