The problem is that the typical water infrastructure bill, known as the Water Resources Development Act, authorizes a lot of specific projects. Flood control in Compton, Calif.? Sure. Environmental restoration in New Jersey’s Liberty State Park? Why not? (Those were both in the last WRDA bill.) Upgrading the crumbling infrastructure at some of the nation’s economically vital ports? Of course.
The bill the House passed last night circumvents that earmark ban, though, at least to leadership. Rather than Congress choosing which projects to fund, it authorizes a number of projects recommended in reports sent to Congress by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Since 2007, the Army Corps has made 23 such recommendations — part of a longstanding practice. And yesterday’s House bill authorizes 21 of them, along with two completed but pending reports. The total cost, according to the House-passed bill, is nearly $8 billion.
Florida is home to six authorized projects, more than any other state. North Carolina and Louisiana each has three. California, Texas and Minnesota each has two. Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi and North Dakota are each home to one project.
The projects account for nearly 90 percent of the bill’s cost through 2018, according to the an analysis this week from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Implementing the bill will cost $3.5 billion from 2014 to 2018 and $4.7 billion over the next four years, CBO reported.
Here’s a table of the 23 projects along with their cost estimates and the purpose they’re supposed to serve: