National League of Cities Thanks Congress for Passing the Water Resources Reform and Development Act

Washington, D.C. - The National League of Cities (NLC) thanks Congress for passing the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), and encourages the President to quickly sign it.  The bill authorizes 34 new lock, dam, levee, port and ecosystem restoration projects and includes a new pilot program that makes loans available to local governments building large water and wastewater-related infrastructure projects and activities.

"Today, we thank the Senate for finding a bipartisan path forward to ensure that communities will see better financing options for large water and wastewater projects," said NLC Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony. "This bill will have enormous benefits by allowing communities to improve their aging infrastructure and water resource development projects. This will make their communities more competitive and create jobs. We encourage President Obama to sign the bill.” 

NLC remains concerned that tax-exempt municipal bonds cannot be used for the non-federal share of the projects under the pilot program included in the bill. We vow to continue to work with Congress to improve this important provision in order to maximize its effectiveness for communities. 

Other key provisions for local governments:

  • Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund - Sets target expenditures for a gradual increase in the percentage of user fees that are spent through the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for harbor and port maintenance, reaching 100 percent by 2025. However, annual appropriations from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund remain discretionary.
  • Clean Water Act/State Revolving Loan Funds - Amends the Clean Water Act to ensure that projects funded with State Revolving Loan Funds (SRF) maximize the potential for efficient water use, reuse, recapture and conservation. States may provide additional subsidization to local governments in the form of principal forgiveness and negative-interest loans. EPA is also required to conduct a review of the SRF state allotment formula.
  • Project Authorization - Allows local project sponsors to submit proposals to the Army Corps of Engineers, which in turn would submit a list to Congress for authorization. The bill would allow local project sponsors to contribute their own funds to the Army Corps to carry out studies and move projects forward via the processing of permits.
  • Review Process - Sets a three-year deadline for Army Corps feasibility studies and requires concurrent reviews of feasibility studies and environmental reviews.

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.