October 15, 2018 - The House is in recess, and the Senate is mostly focused on confirming The Trump Administration’s political nominees. However, Congress managed to pass a few minor infrastructure packages over the past few weeks. On Wednesday, the Senate voted 99-1 to pass S. 3021, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The bill would authorize $6.1 billion of funds for 12 new construction projections under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), and $4.4 billion for the state drinking water revolving loan fund program.
Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, also claims S. 3021 will help local entities work with the Corps to streamline the project permitting process and improve project turn-around times. S. 3021 does not authorize any new projects for California, but the bill does direct the Corps to conduct six feasibility studies for new water infrastructure and flood control projects in the Coyote Valley, Lower Cache, the Lower San Joaquin River, South San Francisco, the Tijuana River, and Westminster-East Garden Grove. After the feasibility report on a new project is completed, the Corps may begin construction if Congress appropriates the necessary funds.
Last week, Congress passed H.R. 302, a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for five years. The bill will head to the President’s desk, where he is expected to sign it into law. H.R. 302 is the first FAA reauthorization since October 2015. H.R. 302 authorizes several programs for rural America including a new study that will analyze rural communities’ access to air travel and the impact on local businesses. The bill also contains $1.7 billion in disaster relief for hurricane victims but does not include any new funding for victims of wildfires.
Source: Rural County Representatives of California