Lipinski Helps Pass Bill to Create Jobs by Rebuilding the Nation's Ports and Waterways
As the state’s most senior member on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3) has helped to pass the bipartisan Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The Act will create jobs by rebuilding our water transportation system and includes many benefits to the region, such as allowing the City of Chicago to proceed with redeveloping a key section of Lake Michigan lakefront. Rep. Lipinski also cosponsored an amendment to the bill to help prevent the spread of Asian carp to the Great Lakes.
“This legislation is an important step toward making long overdue repairs to our harbors, locks, and dams, while deauthorizing those facilities that no longer make sense to spend our scarce resources on. I am especially proud to have helped introduce an amendment aimed at eliminating the threat of damage to the fragile Great Lakes ecosystem and $7 billion fishing industry that could be caused by Asian carp,” Rep. Lipinski said. “I am honored to have worked closely with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this bill that will give our inland waterways a much-needed boost, generate economic development and create jobs. WRRDA exemplifies what can happen when all sides get together, build consensus, and compromise in order to get things done on behalf of the American people.”
Under the amendment Rep. Lipinski cosponsored, federal agencies would be required to partner with state and local governments to develop best practices to eliminate the spread of Asian carp through activities like contract fishing and pesticide application. Rep. Lipinski earlier helped to pass legislation that enabled the construction of a 13-mile system of barriers in his district to prevent the invasive species from being swept from the Des Plaines River and the I&M Canal to the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal during heavy rains and flooding.
WRDDA authorizes projects to maintain the country’s ports and shipping infrastructure. It also sets environmental policy for the Army Corps of Engineers. The last time the legislation passed was in 2007, resulting in a backlog of projects and system maintenance. In Illinois alone, roughly $81 billion in goods are shipped through our waterways and ports, helping to support 48,195 jobs, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The bill, as a savings to taxpayers, deauthorizes $12 billion worth of old, inactive projects and facilities, including Dime Pier just south of Navy Pier, paving the way for the City of Chicago to rebuild that portion of the lakefront.
The Senate passed its version of WRRDA in May. With passage in the House, both bills now head to a conference committee to be reconciled.
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