A press release from Congressman Randy Hultgren:
Hultgren: Waterway Bill Will Boost Our Economic Competitive Edge
Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) voted with the House to pass the bipartisan Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013, H.R. 3080.
“Our nation’s harbors and rivers, and the ports, channels, locks and dams that service these waterways, have been essential to exporting our resources to the world and expanding our economy since our founding,” said Rep. Hultgren.
“In Illinois, waterways like the Mississippi and ports like the Port of Chicago support more than 48,000 jobs and directly contribute $6.4 billion to our state’s economy.
“Of the country’s $1.4 trillion worth of goods that are transported via water each year, $81 billion of manufactured goods, $37 billion in agricultural and food products, and $18 billion in regularly used chemicals travel through Illinois’ ports and waterways. In fact every state, including Illinois, relies on at least 15 seaports to handle imports and exports.
“The current waterway improvement approval process costs us time and money that delay much-needed projects.
“This bill will cut through bureaucratic red tape, setting deadlines on feasibility studies and environmental reviews and expediting permit processing.
“The bill doesn’t grow the size of government and is fiscally responsible, containing zero earmarks and de-authorizing $12 billion of old, inactive projects.
“It increases congressional oversight over the Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees waterway infrastructure, and allows businesses to contribute their own funds to propel key projects to completion.
“Water resources infrastructure is vital to a healthy economy and job growth in Illinois. These reforms help our nation maintain its competitive edge in the world, and a strong infrastructure at home.”