U.S. Congress Passes Critical Water Resources Legislation
Dec 10, 2016
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, USA – Congress reached an agreement this week on a comprehensive water resources infrastructure legislation. The legislation, the “Water Infrastructure Improvements Act for the Nation (WIIN) Act”, includes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, which authorizes port, waterway, flood protection improvements and other water resources infrastructure projects critical to the Nation’s economic growth, health and competitiveness. The final bill is a result of bicameral negotiations and restores certainty to the WRDA process and returns to the two-year cycle of Congress considering WRDA legislation.
The WIIN Act is a major victory for one of the Nation’s largest energy ports – the Port of Corpus Christi and its Channel Improvement Project as it includes numerous provisions that will benefit U.S. exporters of crude oil and other shippers via a deeper, wider, safer and more efficient ship channel.
- It modernizes the cost share depth for channel projects over 50 feet deep. As a result, the Port’s cost share for construction of the Channel Improvement Project will be reduced by $50 million.
- Includes language that clarifies the remaining separable elements of the Channel Improvement Project which will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to continue work on the Channel Improvement Project and allow it to be considered for construction appropriations during the Federal budget process.
- Includes feasibility study to investigate the widening and deepening of the La Quinta Channel from 45 feet to 52 feet to match the authorized depth of the Channel Improvement Project, construction of a new turning basin near the entrance to the Inner Harbor, and increasing the size of existing turning basins to provide a more effective, safe and efficient waterway.
The widening and deepening of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel is needed to guarantee continued economic growth for South Texas and Port Corpus Christi and for ensuring the safety of port operations. The Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project is critical to Texas’ economy, and the Nation in seeking to provide US exporters with efficient transportation solutions and new export opportunities globally.
Currently more than 25% of ships moving cargo to/from Port Corpus Christi have a design draft over 45 feet. Deepening the channel to 52 feet will reduce costs, vessel traffic, air emissions while increasing safety and security. US exporters of crude oil, refined products, grain and other agricultural products are expected to see significant benefits and be more competitive world wide after completing the Channel Improvement Project.
“The Port would like to thank the entire Delegation for their support of the WIIN Act; especially Congressman Blake Farenthold for his work on the new start provision that will help the Port advance its priority project and Senator Cornyn for his support of that provision. Without them, and the support of Senator Cruz and Congressmen Vela and Cuellar, we would not have this important piece of legislation.” said Charles W. Zahn, Jr. Port Corpus Christi Chairman