$9 Billion For Water Infrastructure

Maintaining locks and dams and dredging harbors is an important part of food transportation and infrastructure.

Last week, in a bipartisan bill, the Senate passed the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) in a vote of 95-3.

The WRDA bill is the first of two steps for water infrastructure, it authorizes $9 billion for projects administered by the Army Corps of Engineers.

So it's the strategy, the second step is appropriations, where funding is allocated to projects.

In 2014, Congress passed the first WRDA bill in seven years, but bill supporters say a new one should happen every two years.

Soy Transportation Coalition Executive Director Mike Steenhoek says congressional action this year sets a good example, "The inherent challenge with the inland waterway system is it's out of sight for so many policy makers. And if it's out of sight, it's out of mind. And if you want to actually have one of these bill passed to do something that addresses our inland waterway system. It's a pretty significant undertaking to educate these lawmakers, to talk about what barge transportation is, why it's important. What are those industries affected by it and why it merits their attention."

Steenhoek says the Senate bill is encouraging because it shows some things can still get done in Washington before the elections.

The House of Representatives indicated they will look at their version of WRDA this week.