NEW YORK A waterways
infrastructure bill easily passed the Senate May 15, a
development that steel interests say will benefit shipping by
The Water Resources Development
Act (WRDA), which passed by a vote of 83-14, authorizes
increased funding for harbor maintenance, waterway
improvements, flood-risk management, environmental restoration,
dredging, and water supply and wastewater projects.
The bill would provide more
money to dredge the Mississippi River and to improve river dams
and barge shipping.
"The steel industry applauds
these provisions, as we rely heavily on seaports and inland
waterways to move raw materials necessary for steelmaking and
also to move finished steel products to market," Thomas Gibson,
chief executive officer and president of the American Iron and
Steel Institute, said in a statement.
The American Association of Port
Authorities (AAPA) said that the bill would expedite shipping,
particularly in Port of Boston and Georgias Port of
Savannah, for example.
"The immediate effect is that
you have increased funds available for maintenance dredging,
which will improve conditions for shipping," Jim Walker,
director of navigation policy and legislation at the AAPA, told
"Increased investments are
needed to better maintain and improve the transportation
infrastructure on our three coasts and the Great Lakes, linking
America to the global marketplace," AAPA president and chief
executive officer Kurt Nagle said in a statement.
The Congressional Budget Office
estimates that new projects authorized by the bill will cost
more than $12 billion over the next decade.
The bill now heads to the House