The U.S. House of Representatives last week overwhelmingly passed its massive Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), a marine infrastructure bill with many provisions impacting the Great Lakes. The legislation was approved by a vote of 399-25.
It included an amendment by Congressman Dave Joyce (R-OH) reauthorizing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative—a key priority of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition (GLMCC) of which the Greater Cleveland Partnership is a member. The Initiative allocates funding to combat challenges to the Great Lakes ecosystem.
“WRDA is legislation that touches the Great Lakes in so many ways,” said GLMCC Executive Director Brad Williams. “The bill authorizes funding for dredging, marine infrastructure and Great Lakes environmental protections, which are priorities for all of us.”
The coalition also pushed for successful passage of a floor amendment by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), making permanent a temporary set-aside of Army Corps of Engineers Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund spending for the Great Lakes.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster’s (R-PA) bill included an authorization for the Upper Ohio River project, also a key priority for GLMCC.
The Senate has already passed its version of WRDA, setting up a conference committee later this year. Both the House and Senate will return after the election for a lame duck session that will address WRDA and other issues.
The Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition consists of nearly 40 chambers of commerce representing more than 150,000 businesses. It is dedicated to forging a strategic partnership between the Great Lakes and the federal government.
The coalition seeks to leverage the Great Lakes region’s historic strengths in manufacturing, research and innovation to maximize investment and job creation that will benefit the entire country.