The leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Thursday released the conference report for the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, setting up for a potential final vote by the full House and Senate.
The conference report includes multiple soybean industry priorities, the American Soybean Association said in a statement Thursday, including provisions that will free up funding within the Inland Waterways Trust Fund for additional waterways infrastructure projects.
The bill also increases the level of Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund dollars that will be spent on port maintenance and dredging and streamlines the Army Corps of Engineers' project review process, which ASA says will increase Corps' flexibility to maintain navigation during low water events.
In addition, the bill promotes the use of alternative financing and public-private partnerships to fund waterways infrastructure, ASA said.
"This is a huge step forward to ensure the continued success of the soybean supply chain, and leaders in both the House and Senate deserve a great deal of credit for shepherding this bill through a challenging policymaking climate," said American Soybean Association President and Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser.
Gaesser commended legislators for their cooperation "in the interest not only of farmers who need a reliable waterways system to move products to market, but the countless other industries that rely on that infrastructure as well."
The bill previously passed the House with a vote of 417 to 3 on October 23, 2013, and passed the Senate on an 83-14 vote on May 15, 2013.
View highlights of the WRRDA conference report, and view a video by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Penn., on the bill below.